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With snow on the way, a helpful reminder on safe driving in winter conditions

It’s starting to feel like we’re heading into another snow event in the Puget Sound region, so what are you doing to prepare for winter-like driving conditions? We’ve talked to some officials on what to expect, what you need to do, and how to stay safe when the snow hits the ground.

On Wednesday, Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a stern warning to emphasize the danger of driving in snowy conditions, especially in a city like Seattle that’s full of hills and uneven roads.

“To all the people who have moved here in the last few years, and you think you’re a great driver in the snow: You’re not,” she said.

If you do need to be out on the roads while it’s snowy and/or icy, avoid making sharp turns or corrections, and avoid slamming on the brakes — that could cause some skidding. It’s better to gently pump the brakes if your car begins to slip and skid, especially if you’re headed downhill.

How to avoid being ‘that driver’ on snowy roads in Washington passes

If you’re trying to get up a hill, wait until the vehicle in front of you has reached the top before you start your ascent, just in case that other car begins to slide backwards.

The Washington State Department of Transportation also really wants you to pay attention to the roads, plows, and crews that are working, and ensure you’re giving them enough room so they can lay down the solvent and sand to loosen up some of that snow and ice.

If you’re traveling over the mountain passes, make sure you have emergency road kits available, stocked with extra blankets, food, and water. Driving over the passes may also require you to have traction tires rated for mud and snow, denoted by the “M” and “S” inscribed on the tires themselves. Most all-season tires have this rating. It’s also wise to monitor warnings from WSDOT and the Washington State Patrol in the event tire chains are required (even if you have traction or studded tires).

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