The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is urging drivers to start preparing themselves and their vehicles before traveling on snow and ice.
Drivers can visit WSDOT’s winter driving web page for tips and information. WSDOT also asks travelers to “know before you go” and get the most up-to-date roadway information before heading out.
“Our crews are ready for winter and work hard to keep roads clear, but as last winter showed, any part of the state can experience severe weather and we need the public’s help as well,” said WSDOT Maintenance Operations Manager James Morin. “Most pass closures are due to spin outs or crashes from vehicles traveling too fast or not having proper winter equipment. Preparing early and staying informed about conditions and restrictions can help keep traffic moving during storms.”
Although some vehicle manufacturers recommend against the use of tire chains for certain models, that doesn’t excuse travelers from state traction device laws. These requirements exist to help keep all traffic moving safely during extreme winter conditions.
The Washington State Patrol provides an online list of approved, alternative-traction devices that meet state traction requirements. All travelers are reminded to carry chains or approved alternatives whenever crossing mountain passes to be prepared for changing weather conditions and 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 over winter.
By law, studded tires are legal for use in Washington state only from November 1 through March 31. This applies to all vehicles in Washington, even those traveling from other states, and no personal exemptions or waivers exist.