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Old 12-15-2012, 06:45 PM   #1
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Winter driving in CO

Looking for some experience from CO people that drive I-70 during the winter. When chain law is in effect does that also include motorhomes. The law is a bit confusing as it lists commercial vehicles. But it also has a weight listing as well. Mine weighs in as 32,500 pds. I travel to CO during Dec also Feb, March & Ap. I have usually waited out the storm or gone around on 80 or down thru Pagosa, depending on sales calls or conditions. If chain law is in effect, how many of you have still traveled 70 and not chained up. I know many on here go up to the ski resorts during the winter. Have you gotten to the tunnel or Vail pass and decided chaining up would have been the best bet. Which chains are you all carrying with you. The full lugged or wire.
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:57 PM   #2
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If it's helpful, I was turned away for not having chains for my 4 Wheel drive suburban, not once but twice. Not sure if it was due in part to the ice, or man at the road block. My father-in-law many years ago was stopped and held over night in his motor home because he had no chains. The DOT actually had a company come by and fill his propane so he could have heat. Not sure what the current folks up there are doing, and I am not going to find out by trying to pass over during a snow storm.
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:24 PM   #3
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They will nail you with a big fat fine if you do not have chains and have them in place when they are required. If you choose not to and screw up and end up tying up traffic they will come down hard on you. Most motor homes are not built to deal with chains. I would suggest a southerly route or pick a time when the passes are clear and you'll have nice weather to drive through the desert. The law maybe questionable but the CSP and other enforcement agencies will issue you a ticket and if you want to fight it go ahead.
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:17 PM   #4
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We were told by a trooper in Colorado that if a Level 2 is posted (which requires chains on all commercial vehicles), in most cases, it will also apply to a Class A motorhome with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more even though the Colorado laws seem to address those specific chain laws to commercial vehicles. A level 2 would include commercial buses. He was told us that the Class A motorhome drivers that he has stopped, when given the option of either chaining up or turning back (not continuing), just about all chose to turn back.

If chains are required on commercial vehicles, I don't think I'd want to even attempt to drive the motorhome in those conditions without chains. Both DH and I have driven commercial buses and it's not fun at all sliding around on ice and snow sometimes going down an incline sideways.

I suppose technically, a motorhome wouldn't be subjected to the same fines as a commercial vehicle for not chaining up but believe me, it's not fun chaining up a Class A. When driving commercially, we had to put chains on our share of trucks and buses and it is not a fun task but a necessary one when you're driving for a living. We don't even attempt to chain up our motorhome now being retired folk as we have clearance issues on ours where steel chains will not fit. In Colorado, cables are in some conditions not a substitute for steel chains when Level 1 and 2 are in effect.

Our advice would be to continue what you've done in the past and wait it out or go around. Our opinion only.



ETA: It appears what pumper9x9 has said confirms that motorhomes in fact may be subject to the same fines as commercial vehicles for not chaining up.
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:35 PM   #5
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Living in Florida we don't have icing concerns. A friend drives commercial semi between Denver and Grand Junction year 'round. He told me that his truck has sanders and they are apparently an option when chains (or sanders) are required. If this is allowable (and I didn't misunderstand) maybe you could add sanders if that is practical.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:23 PM   #6
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Living in Florida we don't have icing concerns. A friend drives commercial semi between Denver and Grand Junction year 'round. He told me that his truck has sanders and they are apparently an option when chains (or sanders) are required. If this is allowable (and I didn't misunderstand) maybe you could add sanders if that is practical.
Hmm, that's right, sanders are approved in Colorado. However, sanders for a motorhome would be impractical as I would have to imagine that they'd really cost a lot for the amount of use they'd get. Plus, they'd take up a lot of room because you'd have to install them just ahead of the duals on both sides and the sand tank takes up substantial space. We had them on transit buses back in the 80s and they'd clog up and would have to continually be re-filled. I'm thinking there's just not enough room or space on most motorhomes. Here's the unit that most buses use -> click here

The illustration is in the file attached to the bottom of this post.

However, this has all made me think that AutoSocks are approved in Colorado! ...and I think now in Washington (however, I don't think they are in Oregon, California, or other states). Click here

One nice thing about Colorado, if you are towing your car, you're not required to chain the toad. In Oregon and some other states, they require you to chain the toad also when the chains required notices are up.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf bus_sander_parts_illustration.pdf (844.9 KB, 14 views)
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:33 PM   #7
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Amanda, Thanks for the education.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:56 PM   #8
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Which chains are you all carrying with you. The full lugged or wire.
We carry a set of SCC Super Z with us when we go snow skiing. We have not had to use them yet, but we're prepared.
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