By Matt Kroschel


FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4)– The calm before the storm never really happened inside the Big O Tires in Frisco. On Thursday, Colorado experienced significant snow and freezing temperatures which changed the way people drive through the mountains.

October 2019 Snowstorm in Denver

(credit: CBS)

“It was crazy,” manager Trish Chacon told CBS4 Thursday as she juggled answering an endless ringing phone.

PHOTO GALLERY: October 2019 Snowstorm & Extreme Cold

She has seen this rush on tires before, saying it happens every season before the first snow. But this season comes with new traction laws for drivers along the Interstate 70 Mountain Corridor, leading to confusion and frustration.

Trish Chacon (credit: CBS)

“My guys didn’t go home till about 9 o’clock last night,” she said.

They served dozens of people, but many were turned away. And even for a seasoned high country driver, this intense winter punch was a bit unexpected.

Traction Law

(credit: CBS)

“I come over Fremont Pass, it’s something that on a front-wheel-drive vehicle you don’t want to be without snow tires.”

Since Colorado’s beefed up I-70 Traction Law went into effect last month, many drivers aren’t aware that those changes could mean their tires don’t meet the revised requirements.

Traction Law

(credit: CBS)

From September through May, two-wheel-drive cars now must have specialized winter tires or traction devices.

“Days like this, when there is that thin layer of ice, it’s going to give you better traction,” she added.

Trish Chacon

Trish Chacon (credit: CBS)

Tires on all vehicles, including those with four-wheel-drive, must have minimum tread depths of 3/16 of an inch, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The old law required just 1/8 of an inch.

Traction Law

(credit: CBS)

And as the winter ramps up, people like Chacon will be there to help drivers navigate Colorado’s traction’s laws.

“It’s something you want to do, you don’t want to hold up the road, it makes a mess of everything.”

LINK: CDOT Traction Law

Matt Kroschel

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