Should unprepared drivers be stopped from going over the pass?

Dec 10, 2021, 12:42 PM
snoqualmie pass...
Snow plows out on Snoqualmie Pass in December 2021. (Photo courtesy of SnoqualmiePass/Twitter)
(Photo courtesy of SnoqualmiePass/Twitter)

It’s expected to be stormy this weekend, and that usually spells trouble for the mountain passes.

Drivers frustrated as they wait for Snoqualmie Pass to reopen

It has already been a frustrating week for drivers going over Snoqualmie Pass because of spinouts that have shut down the highway in both directions.

While some drivers blame the closures on unprepared drivers traveling without chains, all-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive, others tell KIRO 7 TV they’re worried that staffing shortages at the state transportation department will mean fewer and slower plows on the road this winter.

WSDOT workforce shortage could mean more closed roads this winter

So, as KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show asked, should we get tougher on people who attempt to go over mountain passes totally unprepared?

Host Gee Scott says yes.

“We do it in a very simple way,” he suggested. “No, don’t give them tickets. No, don’t have a state trooper there to flag someone if they don’t do it. Now, if you roll over into a ditch, if you cause an accident out there with no chains on your tires and are not properly prepared, then the money that it costs the state to come to you is billed to you.”

“That’s a terrible idea,” producer Andrew Lanier replied.

“You’re not going to get a ticket. But if you expect tax dollars to help you out of that ditch because you chose not to have the snow tires, then you’re paying for it,” Gee said. “Why are we paying for your carelessness?”

“But what about the people who are still going to be stuck in traffic? How about just stopping them before they even get close to the pass and just say, ‘look, you’re not prepared,'” host Ursula Reutin said.

And, she says, when they say chains required, enforce that chains are required.

“You know what the problem is in this country? We don’t ever want to take care of things,” Gee said. “We always want to give a ‘yeah, but,’ to these situations.”

“That doesn’t fix the problem, that creates a punitive punishment for people who may not have the means to put snow tires on their car,” Lanier said about Gee’s idea. “I’d rather they just not have the option of getting on the pass in the first place.”

“Yes, don’t get on the pass,” Ursula agreed.

Gee argued people are usually too lazy to go get snow tires, not that they don’t have the means.

“Did you get decaf this morning? You’re feisty,” Lanier joked.

Find winter driving tips from the Washington State Department of Transportation online here.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

Bruce Harrell inaugural address...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Seattle Mayor Harrell looks to form third public safety department for unarmed responders

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell wants to supplement the city's police and fire departments with a third public safety department.
4 days ago
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Report shows most Kroger grocery workers struggle to afford food

A new report shows that more than two-thirds of Kroger grocery workers are struggling to afford food, housing, or other basic needs.
5 days ago
amanda knox...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gee interviews Amanda Knox on new podcast

On “Leaving a Legacy,” Gee interviews Amanda Knox -- an author, activist, and journalist who was wrongly convicted in the murder her roommate.
6 days ago
kent police...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Apology for handling of Kent police officer who posted Nazi emblem fixes little

The Kent mayor and police chief apologized for the separation delay of an officer alleged to have displayed a Nazi emblem, only after public outcry.
7 days ago
COVID vaccine...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Likely that Washington schools will eventually require students to get COVID vaccine

Could the COVID vaccine join the list of requirements for children to attend school in Washington? State Superintendent Chris Reykdal believes it will.
9 days ago
outdoor lunch, kirkland...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

State superintendent: Kirkland school’s outdoor lunch rule ‘not the best choice’

Parents at Lakeview Elementary expressed outrage after finding out that the school would be mandating outdoor lunch in cold temperatures.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Should unprepared drivers be stopped from going over the pass?