With snow already falling on some mountain passes, it’s never too early to get ready for winter ice and snow.
The Washington State Department of Transportation urges all drivers to start preparing themselves and their vehicles for winter weather. Drivers can check out WSDOT’s winter driving web page for tips and information. WSDOT also asks drivers to always “know before you go” and get the most up-to-date roadway information before heading out.
To check conditions and prepare for snow or ice:
- Download the WSDOT mobile app.
- Follow WSDOT’s regional and pass accounts on Twitter or the agency’s Facebook site.
- Sign up for email and/or text updates about road conditions – including Snoqualmie Pass delay text alerts.
- Download, print and carry the WSDOT Winter Driving Guide.
- Get your vehicle 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 and by calling 511.
- Preset your radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for WSDOT’s traffic-information stations.
“Our crews work hard to keep roads clear of snow and ice for drivers, but last year’s severe winter certainly highlighted the importance of being equipped for winter conditions,” said James Morin, WSDOT’s snow and ice program manager. “We need the public’s help by driving for conditions and obeying chain-up notices. Often it’s just one unprepared driver spinning out that forces a pass closure.”
Alternatives to chains
Some vehicle manufacturers recommend against the use of tire chains for certain vehicle models. The Washington State Patrol provides a list of approved, alternative-traction devices that meet state chains and traction tires requirements.
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 can approve studded tires earlier in extraordinary conditions, but at this time the date remains Nov. 1. Motorists are encouraged to visit a tire dealer to learn more about stud-free traction tires that are legal for year-round use and do not cause the same roadway damage as studded tires. WSDOT estimates studded tires cause between $20 million and $29 million in damage, combined, to state-owned asphalt and concrete roadways each year. More information about studded-tired restrictions and requirements can be found in the FAQ on the WSP website.