Local Information

Winter’s on its way; make sure you and your vehicle are prepared

Friday, October 17, 2014 - 16:25

Barbara LaBoe, WSDOT communications, 360-705-7080 (Olympia)

Drivers may begin using studded tires in November

OLYMPIA – Winter will be here before you know it, so now’s the time to make sure you—and your vehicle—are ready for snow and ice.

The keys to emerging from the winter-driving season unscathed: slow down and plan ahead. There are no major storms on the immediate horizon, but Washington State Department of Transportation officials say drivers still need to be ready.

“Prepare your car and prepare yourself for winter conditions,” said Monty Mills, WSDOT’s snow-and-ice program manager. “When the temperature drops, drivers all over the state need to be ready. We’ll be working to keep the highways open, but we’ll need drivers’ help.”

WSDOT asks drivers to always “know before you go” and get the most up-to-date roadway information and winter-driving tips on the agency’s winter driving Web page .

Here’s what drivers can do to prepare for icy and snowy roads:

  • Download the WSDOT mobile app for smartphones.
  • Sign up for email updates or follow any of WSDOT’s regional accounts on Twitter .
  • Download, print and carry the WSDOT Winter Driving Guide .
  • Get your car ready 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.
  • Preset 530 AM and 1610 AM, WSDOT’s traffic-information stations, on your vehicle’s radio.

Some vehicle manufacturers recommend against the use of tire chains. The Washington State Patrol provides a list of approved, alternative-traction devices that are acceptable when chains or traction tires are required.

Studded tires are legal for use only between Nov. 1 and March 31 in Washington state. Motorists are encouraged to visit a tire dealer to learn more about traction tires that are legal for year-round use. More information about studded-tired restrictions and requirements can be found in the FAQ on the WSP website.

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