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The arrival of spring typically means drivers in Washington have until March 31 to remove studded tires. However, this year the Washington State Department of Transportation is extending the deadline to Thursday, April 30, due to COVID-19 virus concerns and in support of Gov. Jay Inslee’s guidance to help reduce the spread of the virus by limiting social interactions.
“Washington is experiencing some extraordinary challenges with COVID-19 right now and we recognize this is not a time for ‘business as usual,’” said WSDOT Maintenance Operations Branch Manager James Morin. “People are dealing with a lot of concerns – trying to get tires changed by the end of the month doesn’t need to be one of them.”
Studded tires are legal in Washington from Nov. 1 to March 31. State law gives WSDOT authority to extend the deadline when circumstances call for it, most commonly when a forecast indicates widespread snow and ice. Currently many employers, including tire removal services, are sending employees home to help stop the spread of the virus, so people’s ability to meet the deadline could be difficult.
Because the COVID-19 event is rapidly changing, WSDOT will re-evaluate the situation near the end of the extension period. If no new extensions are granted at that time, the April 30 deadline means that starting at midnight on Friday, May 1, drivers with studded tires face a $136 fine.
WSDOT encourages drivers to remove studded tires prior to the deadline, if possible. Studded tires damage pavement, so removing them promptly after winter has passed helps preserve state roadways. Tire removal services can get crowded near the removal deadline, so please plan accordingly.
Crews continue to monitor roads, passes and forecasts, and work to quickly clear any late season snow or ice. Travelers are always advised to “know before you go” by checking road conditions before heading out and staying up-to-date on changes by using WSDOT’s social media and email alert tools or calling the 5-1-1 road conditions report.
Other states may have different studded tire removal dates, but the Washington law applies to all drivers in the state, even visitors. No personal exemptions or waivers are issued.
More information about studded tire regulations in Washington is available online.