Saturday, March 2, 2024

Start preparing for winter driving before snow and ice arrive, studded tires allowed in Washington from Nov. 1 to March 31

Check conditions, prepare for adverse weather, download the WSDOT mobile app


OLYMPIA - The falling leaves and colder weather can mean only one

thing - snow and ice are just around the corner. With the changing

seasons, now is the perfect time for travelers to shift their focus

towards winter driving.


The Washington State Department of Transportation urges all travelers

to start preparing themselves and their vehicles well before the

threat of snow and ice kicks into high gear. Drivers can check out

WSDOT's winter driving web page<> for tips

and information. WSDOT also asks travelers to always "know before you

go" and get the most up-to-date roadway information before heading



"Our crews are ready for winter and work hard to keep roads clear of

snow and ice," said WSDOT Maintenance Operations Manager James Morin.

"But we also need the public's help in being prepared for winter

weather. Most of the pass closures we see are due to spin outs or

crashes from a vehicle traveling too fast or not having proper winter

driving equipment."


To check conditions and prepare for adverse weather:


*         Download the WSDOT mobile



*         Follow WSDOT's regional and pass accounts on

Twitter<>, the agency's

Facebook<> site and online travel



*         Sign up<>

for email and/or text updates about road conditions - including

Snoqualmie Pass delay text



*         Download, print and carry the WSDOT Winter Driving


(pdf 1.83 mb).


*         Get your vehicle

ready<>  (pdf 2

mb) and plan extra time to cross all mountain passes, including

heavily traveled routes such as Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass and

White Pass.


*         Carry chains and know current traction and chain

requirements<> for

mountain passes, which are also available on highway-advisory signs

and highway-advisory radio and by calling



*         Preset your radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for WSDOT's

traffic-information stations.


Alternatives to chains

Some vehicle manufacturers recommend against the use of tire chains

for certain models - but that doesn't exempt travelers from state laws

about extra traction devices. The Washington State Patrol provides a

list of approved, alternative-traction


(pdf 133 kb) that meet state chains and traction tires requirements.

All travelers are reminded to carry chains whenever crossing mountain

passes to be prepared for changing weather conditions and potentially

avoid a costly ticket. Failure to obey a tire chains sign can mean a

ticket of up to $500. Special chain enforcement patrols will be

keeping an eye on mountain passes this winter.


Studded tires

By law, studded tires are legal for use in Washington state only from

Nov. 1 through March 31. This applies to all vehicles in Washington,

even those traveling from other states.


WSDOT estimates studded


cause between $20 million and $29 million in pavement damage to

state-owned asphalt and concrete roadways each year. Motorists are

encouraged to visit a tire dealer to learn more about stud-free,

winter tread traction tires. These type of tires are different than

all-season tires, are legal year-round and do not cause the same

roadway damage as studded tires. More information about studded-tire

restrictions and requirements can be found in the

FAQ<> on

the WSP website.


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