Safety Tips in Colorado

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Colorado

  • Astrobuck's Profile Photo

    Steep Graded Roads

    by Astrobuck Written Jun 14, 2006

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    If you are driving in the mountains of Colorado, and you see one of these signs, PLEASE slow down!! Although 7% may not seem like a very steep road, it is very much so for the inexperienced driver. The higher the percentage grade, the steeper the road.

    One thing to keep in mind: When driving downhill on a graded road, DO NOT I repeat, DO NOT RIDE YOUR BRAKES!! (Keeping your foot on the brake at all times). If you choose to do this, you put yourself in danger. Riding your brake while driving down a steep grade causes your brakes to overheat. While overheating, the components in your braking system (discs and drums) become slick. When this happens, you have no brakes. Next thing you know, you are travelling down a steep grade at an excessive speed with no way to stop (unless you happen to find a runaway truck ramp). This could be catastrophic as you literally fly off the side of the mountain........

    The best way to safely maneuver these types of roads is to shift to a lower gear and gently tap your brake to help control your speed. If you get behind someone who is riding thier brake, try to get around them if possible, because they are causing you to do the same. If you can't get around them, shift to an even lower gear to give them a lot of headway.

    As always, drive safely.

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    Rockslides

    by Astrobuck Written Jun 14, 2006

    Due to Colorado's dry climate, there is much drought, even in the mountains from time to time. This is especially true in both winter and summer. During the summer, dryness combined with heat causes dirt holding rocks together to become brittle. When winter comes, the weight of the snow may cause some of these rocks to become unstable. As the seasons pass and the cycle continues, one slight movement can cause a rockslide. Heavy rain is also a culprit. Although I have not personally heard of anyone getting hurt by these, I have seen a rockslide here once that closed traffic for several days.

    While driving through the mountains of Colorado, you will see many signs like the one pictured here posted along the side of the roads. The state has made several successful attempts to curb this problem by putting up rock fencing both on the rock face and the side of the road. However, as Murphy's Law states, "Anything that can go wrong, will." In other words, be careful.

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  • Astrobuck's Profile Photo

    Smokey the Bear Fire Danger Signs

    by Astrobuck Written Jun 14, 2006

    Smokey the Bear is the official spokesperson of fire safety for the US Forest Service. You will see him on signs like this one pictured here.

    These signs are designed to warn you of fire danger. As stated in the wildfires tip, fire danger is a very real and big threat to land and property. These signs are usually found in National Forests, but I have actually found them in front of volunteer fire departments. The fire danger levels go as follows: Low, Medium, High, and Extreme. If you see any of these signs on your way to a camping trip, please heed the level and contact the US Forest Service to see if a fire ban is in effect.

    Remember...only you can prevent forest fires! -Smokey

    Related to:
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    • Eco-Tourism

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    Wildfires

    by Astrobuck Written May 30, 2006

    Colorado is very prone to wildfire outbreaks. Wildfires cause much damage to lives and property every year, and are caused by factors such as carelessness and lightning from thunderstorms. Acres upon acres of land is burned, and firefighters have a tendency to have strained resources fighting them. The picture you see here was a wildfire that broke out in Colorado Springs on May 24, 2006. It threatened homes, the US Air Force Academy, and took firefighters several hours to contain it.

    If you ever decide to camp in Colorado, especially during the Summer, please heed the fire danger signs. Make sure you put your campfires out with both water and dirt. The dirt will lock in the water, ensuring the fire will never flare up.

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    Driving up Pikes Peak

    by Florida999 Updated May 2, 2006

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    The road is not for anyone that is afraid of heights, or driving on steep roads, no guard rails and a thousand foot drop-off at the edge of the dirt road.
    Beware of overheating brakes on the way down. They actually check the temperature at the Ranger station and make you pull over if they are. We drove in first gear the entire way.

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    16th Street Mall

    by newsphotogirl Updated Apr 8, 2006

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    Right in the heart of downtown the 16th Street Mall is a popular shopping area. It's basically a street that's closed to traffic. Be warned...a lot of homeless teenagers hang out here. Hold on to your purse. Purse snatching is not a major problem but it happens enough. Okay, it happened to me. There is a free shuttle that run from one end to the other.

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    Severe Thunderstorms

    by Astrobuck Updated Apr 1, 2006

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    If you are visiting Colorado and either see or hear of a severe thunderstorm warning, please take it seriously. Due to Colorado's high altitude, it is very easy to get struck by lightning, no matter where you are. In addition, these storms that move out of the mountains have a tendency to spawn tornados as they move onto the prairie.

    This picture shows a severe thunderstorm in the foreground. Although it may look harmless in the picture, the fact is, it was worse.

    As I was driving, rain began to fall, lightning, thunder, etc. Nothing to it, right? So I thought....

    Next came the high wind and hail. My SUV was rocking back and forth. I pulled over. After the rain ceased, I began driving again. The strange thing was, although the wind and rain ceased, things were still blowing around!! I think I must have driven through some sort of vortex or something, because it was really wierd, just driving along, no wind hitting the vehicle, yet seeing stuff blowing and flying around.......!

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  • newsphotogirl's Profile Photo

    Lightning, Water, Sunscreen, Bug Spray

    by newsphotogirl Written Mar 25, 2006

    When hiking be mindful of the clouds rolling in. It can be sunny during the day and a storm can come up fast. Every year people die from lightning strikes while hiking. Never hide next to a tree or tall object while waiting out a storm.

    Always bring water. You can get dehydrated easily and not know because it's so dry here.

    Sunscreen!

    Colorado has had cases of West Nile. Make sure you have bug spray while hiking.

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    Rocky Mountain Oysters

    by newsphotogirl Updated Mar 23, 2006

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    Okay, you're visiting friends in Colorado. They take you out to a restaurant and suggest the Rocky Mountain Oysters. Don't fall for it. They are NOT oysters. They are bull testicles. And no one I know actually eats them.

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    OOOOOPS!

    by johngayton Updated Mar 1, 2006

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    I suppose this is very much a John tip, but it could happen to us all - please agree with me, please.......... pretty please............

    So here I am on my travels. My lady friend and myself are heading from Keystone to Montana, to visit the state that is Steinbeck's favourite. We are doing the "Road Trip" thing, taking our time, stopping off here and there en-route. Our first planned stop is
    The Rocky Mountain National Park and I have booked an overnight stop at The Holiday Inn at Estes Park (Tip to follow - just had to write this one up as it is fresh in mind).

    Duly arrive, after my usual missing of the turning, thus requiring the scenic route, taking-in every possible street in Estes Park until we retrace our steps to find the hotel pretty much where we started from!!! Nothing new there then, but worse to come.

    I think this is going to take longer than one tip so am continuing on OOOOOPS! #2

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  • Restless-in-kl's Profile Photo

    Ski boots are a pain!

    by Restless-in-kl Written Feb 10, 2006

    Yup, I really mean it!!! For a first time skiier like me, the ski boots were a torture to walk in and it's such a long way to go from the rental center to the skiing school. And they are so difficult to put on and take off

    To avoid awful blisters, wear thick socks. Make sure you have gone to all your toilet breaks before putting these heavy babies on!

    Related to:
    • Skiing and Boarding

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  • Callavetta's Profile Photo

    Metal Moths and Rust Rodents

    by Callavetta Written Aug 2, 2005

    In Winter, the Department of Transportation puts down lots of sand and salt on the roads. Salt raises the freezing temperature and it prevents the formation of ice on the roads. But the salt does nasty things to the undercarriage and fenders of cars. It's not unusual to see cars with a great deal of rust on the fenders and lower sides.

    When I was a very young person, my dad bought a car that had some of this rust. He told us it had been eaten by "metal moths".

    I finally found evidence of these rodents!

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    Wildlife Crossing the Highway

    by Callavetta Written Apr 9, 2005

    The Rockies are home to some of the world's most wonderful wildlife. And at times that wildlife will want to get across the road. I've taken the lives of countless chipmunks. I call them suicide chipmunks. Who knows why they simply MUST get across that highway? But the bigger animals can be deadly (to both the animal and the driver). A section of Vail Pass has been dubbed "The Berlin Wall" by wildlife experts, for the numbers of animals that are killed trying to cross that patch.

    Drive very carefully! Always be alert for animals that dart out unexpectedly, particularly at dusk and dawn.

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  • Astrobuck's Profile Photo

    Camping in Bear Country

    by Astrobuck Updated Feb 16, 2005

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    When camping in Colorado, there are many areas designated as being in "Bear Country." These are areas where bears have been seen frequently, or where they have known habitats. When camping, take advantage of food lockers (the green box pictured here). These are bear-proof lockers that are provided free of charge at most state parks. Unfortunately, if you hike and camp in the backcountry (aka roughing it), there are no bear-proof lockers around. In this case, tie all of your food, dirty dishes, and yes, trash, in a strong sack, climb a tree, and tie the sack in a tree about 10 - 20 feet off the ground (the higher the better). Make sure you tie your sack as far away from your campsite as possible. This will help keep bears away from your campsite. It is also helpful not to spill any food on the ground or on your clothes. For more information about bears, read the Bears section under the Warnings and Dangers Page.

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  • Jhepner's Profile Photo

    Altitude Sickness

    by Jhepner Written Feb 14, 2005

    The altitude at Breck is about 10000 feet in town. About 30% of visitors get some sort of Altitude sickness. Symptoms are sleeplessness (I woke up about every 20 minutes the second night there), nausea, loss of appetite. The best cure is lots of liquids and not alcohol. It usually lasts anywhere from 1-3 days before the body adjusts. For me, it took about 12-18 hours before it kicked in. I woke up day 2 feeling like crap. I drank about a gallon of water and by noon or so was feeling much better.

    Related to:
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    • Backpacking

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Colorado Warnings and Dangers

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