Chain/Traction Laws and Winter Driving

Drivers should be aware that the Legislature recently updated Colorado’s chain laws. The new law states that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) may restrict travel by any vehicle, commercial or personal, if it does not carry the proper winter traction equipment. This can apply to any state highway as needed, but I-70 between Dotsero (milepost 133) and Morrison (milepost 259) is considered to be under such restriction from September 1 to May 31 of each year. Therefore, all vehicles traveling this stretch of I-70 during those months must be equipped with at least one the following:

  • Tire chains or an alternative traction device
  • Four-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive with tires that have a tread depth of at least three sixteenths of an inch and that are adequate for the conditions, or
  • Tires that are imprinted by a manufacturer with a mountain snowflake, M&S, M+S, or M/S symbol or that are all-weather rated by the manufacturer and that have a tread depth of at least three sixteenths of an inch.

The law also requires CDOT and the state patrol to provide scenarios on how the law will be enforced. You can find their presentation on these scenarios here.

Passenger vehicle traction restrictions are not limited to I-70. Go to and select “travel alerts” for a list of other current restrictions. You can also dial 511 for road conditions or sign up for text and email alerts from CDOT. For some handy winter driving tips, see CDOT’s I-70 Eagle County Winter Travel GuideIce & Snow: Take It Slow; and Slick Tips.