DENVER (CBS4) – Recent blasts of winter in the mountains have stranded motorists and the Colorado Department of Transportation used something many might not have heard of to bail dozens of cars out of drifts.

“Auto socks” are a relatively new alternative to chains.

“This is an auto sock,” Mark Altman with CDOT said. “It works very much like a pillow case … you slide it on the tire until it’s nice and snug.”

They’re designed to give good traction in ice and snow. This past weekend CDOT used them to help drivers along the Interstate 70 corridor.

“Our Courtesy Patrol went out and were actually trying to clear vehicles, and it would take 8 to 10 minutes to get a vehicle cleared off,” Amy Ford with CDOT said. “We would put on sock on one tire of one of these spun-out vehicles and we could clear that car in about three minutes.”.

CDOT says on Sunday, of the 22 vehicles crews helped, 19 of them had bald tires. The auto socks worked well.

CBS4’s Suzanne McCarroll found auto socks on the Internet for $80 to $90. They come in sets of two.

There are also numerous online demonstrations to help put them on appropriately.

The auto socks are designed for use only to get a car out of the snow. They are not meant to be used while driving.


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