Snowy, Slick Colorado

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Bitter cold and snowy conditions made it pretty rough for parts of Colorado on Wednesday.

The snow caused some big problems for the morning commute in Colorado Springs. There were countless accidents, so the city went on "Accident Alert" for the rest of the day.

Winter storm warnings and advisories were in effect throughout the day for most of Southern Colorado. Dozens of area schools, including Calhan and Ellicott, sent students home early due to the bad conditions. A semi jackknifed on I-25 near Colorado City---shutting down the southbound lanes for several hours.

Icy roads and high speed are being blamed for two separate accidents that killed three people Wednesday morning in Weld County. The first crash happened around 6:50 am on Interstate 25 near the Berthoud exit.

Colorado State Patrol Corporal Tom Kitzmiller says a pickup truck was northbound at a high rate of speed when it lost control and crossed the median into southbound lanes. The truck hit a Honda and was broadsided by a semi-truck. The driver and passenger of the Ford Ranger pickup died in the crash.

A second accident occurred a short time later on Interstate 76 near Wiggins. One person died in that crash.

Kitzmiller says both accidents were the result of icy roads and speeds that were unsafe for existing conditions.

Tune in to KKTV 11 News for the latest on the weather situation. Extended Web Coverage

A Motorists Guide to Winter Driving

Pre-Trip Planning

  • To minimize the chances of a weather-related delay, plan ahead with safety in mind.

  • Always be sure to check the forecast; if a winter storm is predicted for the area in which you will be driving, think twice, or ask yourself if the trip is necessary.

  • Always have an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small shovel, an ice scraper, antifreeze, blankets; nonperishable food; and a first aid kit.

Starting Your Car

  • Be sure to turn off all accessories (radio, heater, lights etc.) before starting your car. This will maximize your battery's starting power.

  • If your car has a fuel injection system, don't touch the accelerator pedal. For carbureted cars, depress the accelerator once before attempting to start the vehicle. Then, simply turn the key and hold it for a few seconds.

Handling Roadside Emergencies

  • Pull as far off the road as possible. This helps to avoid getting hit by another vehicle.

  • Indicate trouble by opening the hood and turning on the vehicle's emergency flashers. Place a "Call Police" sign in the rear window.

  • Stay in the car. Avoid the temptation of accepting a ride with a stranger. Instead, if someone offers help, ask him or her to notify the police if you do not own a cell phone. Leave only with a marked police car or a state or city emergency vehicle.

  • Don't walk or hitchhike, both of which invite trouble-you could either get caught in a storm, or be forced in a dangerous situation involving strangers.

Driving Tips

  • Always wear seatbelts.

  • Remove ice and snow from windows, license plates and lights. Also be sure to clear snow from the vehicle's hood, roof and trunk.

  • Reduce your speed while driving. The posted speed limits are for dry, clear conditions only.

  • Watch for slick spots under bridges and on overpasses.

  • Keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle's fuel line from freezing.

Source: contributed to this report.