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  1. Default I-70 Mountain Pass in Mid December

    Hello all,

    I will be driving on I-70 from around Moab through Denver (stopping at Vail to ski for a couple days) in the second week of December. I know weather is constantly changing daily in the mountains and there is no way to predict road conditions as of yet, however I am curious to the amount of general danger there is driving though I-70 in winter. I am very confident in driving in snow, but not overconfident or complacent. Should I be worried about this drive? Or should I only be worried if a blizzard is coming through?

    Also on snow chains - the CO chain law is very clear for commercial vehicles, is there anything specific about passenger vehicles? I will be driving a 2WD Civic, would they mess up my car at all if I did install them? Do I actually need them? A lot of questions I know, thank you for the input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The "general danger" of I-70 is non-existent. It's a highway used by thousands of people, every day, all winter long. It's the road that connects Denver with Vail and dozens of other ski resorts that drive Colorado's winter economy. When there is bad weather, it gets top priority and is cleared as quickly as possible.

    Chains wouldn't be a bad insurance policy at all. On a Civic, you'd want cable chains, and you should practice putting them on before you get out on the road. If you have snow tires, you also wouldn't have to use chains, and if road conditions are really bad, they will simply close the highway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Colorado Chain Law

    Looks like if it gets bad, you will need at least "M+S" rated tires (winter tires/snow tires) or cable chains - and worse case, real chains, not cables. I would not try to put real chains on a Civic.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the input. What's the difference between chains and cables and why would one be better than the other for my specific car? I think what I'll do is monitor the weather up until my departure and if its looking bad get some chains/cables.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default cables

    Chains are exactly what you think they are - heavy duty metal chains that wrap around your tires.

    Cable Chains are made out of high strength wire/cable that wrap around your wheels in the same way as chains, but are a much lower profile. For many small cars, cables are the only option because chains are actually too big to go around the tires and fit within the car's wheel well. Cables are also easier to install, they don't provide quite as good of traction, but still should be good enough in any situation you'd encounter on an interstate.

    Here's a visual image from the the Yosemite NP website that should help, chains obviously on top, cables on the bottom.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Ft. Collins, CO.


    Colo chain law applies to semis so that they don't get jacknifed and block the roads.
    Unlike California, we don't mandate them for autos. Not sure why but perhaps it's because when the cars need chains the trucks have already jackknifed and closed the road so you can't go anyway....
    The ski industry is dependent on keeping I-70 flowing so there are lots of resources applied to it.
    On the other hand, trying to drive eastbound on a Sunday afternoon in ski season is a plan to spend a long time moving slowly on the road.

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