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Colorado drivers put on accident alert during snowstorms

As Coloradans, we take pride in the snow and recreation in our state, but the weather can sometimes create some negative side effects. Snowstorms bring fog, ice and snow accumulation that increases the likelihood of spinouts and fender benders on the road.

When heavy snow affects a large metro area, it can put a strain on emergency response crews. A new "accident alert" released via KDVR by emergency authorities reminds drivers what to do when involved in a minor accident during a snowstorm. Although we are taught to call the police after an accident, this may not be the best course of action under poor weather conditions.

The emergency response system may be just as packed as the roadways during a snowstorm. Response crews must respond to serious, life-threatening accidents before minor fender benders, which can result in long wait times for those looking for the police during a storm.

You are still required to file a report

Even though police may be unable to respond to the scene of an accident, parties involved in the accident are still required by state law to file a report with authorities, which you can do online or in-person at a police station after the fact.

However, just because you may have to wait to file a police report doesn't mean that you should delay in gathering information related to the accident. Your cell phone can be an important tool at this time.

Use your phone to exchange contact numbers and insurance information. Then, take pictures of each vehicle and the surrounding scene. Authorities also say it is a good idea to take a picture of the other person and his or her driver's license.

Do not discount the dangers of a crash

If you are involved in an accident during a snowstorm or heavy fog, your safety on the side of the road is of utmost importance. Reduced visibility can make it harder for oncoming traffic to see you in time to move to another lane. Potential hazards on the roadway should not be ignored just because you are driving slowly.

A study by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that more than half of all fatal head-on car accidents occurred at speeds of 30 mph or less. High-speed crashes are more likely to result in injuries, but low-speed crashes occur just as frequently.

By understanding how to best respond to accidents during poor weather conditions, Colorado drivers can continue to enjoy the outdoors without risking public safety.

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