Fort Collins road conditions: What to know about traffic, snowplows and crashes

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According to 9News, Northern Colorado will start seeing heavy storm Monday afternoon. 9News, Fort Collins Coloradoan

Editor’s note: The Coloradoan is providing this Northern Colorado weather coverage free for everyone to view as a public service. We can’t keep offering this service without support from readers, like you. If you don’t already, please subscribe today

UPDATE, 7:20 p.m.: With road conditions quickly deteriorating, CDOT has announced that closures are expected overnight. Poudre Fire Authority has responded to at least 10 crashes in the Fort Collins area since 4 p.m.

The city of Fort Collins has advised motorists to treat stop lights that are obscured by snow as four-way stops. Stop and only proceed when it is safe to do so.

UPDATE, 5:30 P.M.: Fort Collins is on accident alert until 6 a.m. Tuesday, meaning anyone involved in a crash that has caused only minor damage can file an online report instead of calling police as long as alcohol and drugs are not involved and there are no injuries. Drivers should exchange information and file reports here: https://www.fcgov.com/police/accidents

UPDATE, 4:25 P.M.: Snow is accumulating and roads. Main roads like College Avenue are a mix of snow and slush. Streets crews are pre-treating roads and will begin plowing, according to a news release. The city reminds drivers to give plows plenty of space and to avoid driving.

ORIGINAL STORY: The snow has arrived.

Meteorologists are predicting 18 to 24 inches of snow between now and Tuesday afternoon, and snow is already accumulating on streets in time for the evening commute.

Schools are canceled and flights are canceled, but if you absolutely need to get out, here’s what you need to know about road conditions in and around Fort Collins:

Do you really need to go out?

First, don’t drive unless you have to. Fort Collins Police Services advises against getting out in the snow Monday, and the National Weather Service says conditions on Tuesday will make “travel difficult to nearly impossible.”

If you’re in a minor crash

If you are involved in a non-hit-and-run crash without injuries, damage to property, or drug or alcohol involvement, both parties can file an online report. You can file reports here

If city police declare an “accident alert,” which hasn’t yet happened as of Monday afternoon, then anyone involved in a crash that has caused minor damage can file the online report as long as alcohol and drugs are not involved and there are no injuries. We’ll let you know if the city goes on accident alert.

Driving know-how

Make sure your windows are free of snow and ice before you ever hit the road.

Carry a shovel and sand or kitty litter for emergency traction.

Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, including a blanket, food and water.

Reduce your speed and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. It’s going to take a longer distance to stop.

Go slow around the curves.

Give snow plows plenty of room. Pass with care and only in certain circumstances (never on the right). Snowplows also have the right-of-way when in tandem formation. More information is available at winter.cdot.gov. 

Colorado has a new traction law in effect this year that limits which vehicles can drive on highways in winter conditions. Drivers must have either snow tires, tires with the mud/snow (M+S) designation (which is marked on the tire) or a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle.

Read more about Colorado’s new traction law.

Finally, here’s a tip from city of Fort Collins officials: If you come across a traffic signal that is blocked by snow and you cannot see the color of the light, treat it like a 4-way stop sign.

Follow the snowplows’ progress

To follow the progress of crews clearing Fort Collins roads, view this snowplow tracker.

Roads are cleared starting with the main roads, like College Avenue and Prospect Road. Then crews prioritize other high-use roads, like Remington Street or Swallow Road. Bus routes are the next priority. Residential streets are not routinely plowed.

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