MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Winter weather increases need for traction tires in WA

Oct 31, 2022, 3:11 PM

traction...

Drivers stopped to put on tire chains as winter storm drops snow along Highway 138 (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

To quote Game of Thrones, winter is coming, and you’ll need traction to stay on the road.

Starting Nov. 1, the use of studded tires can resume, which can be used up until March 31, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

Do you need a raincoat over your Halloween costume?

Studded tires remain legal but are not encouraged since these tires cause considerable road damage over time and cost taxpayers more money to maintain roadways. Studded tires also do not satisfy state chain requirements and if chains are required to cross mountain passes, chains must be used even on studded tires.

The season’s first snows in the mountains usually find a lot of vehicles and motorists not fully prepared for significant winter weather driving conditions across the passes. That was the case last night when snow found its way to Snoqualmie Pass. Here is a review of the WSDOT terms used when wintery weather hits Cascade pass highways.

Approved traction tires include an M&S or All Season label, or a Mountain/Snowflake on the tires. Installing chains makes any tire a traction tire.

When traction tires are ‘advised,’ traction tires are not required but recommended. In addition, oversized loads are prohibited and over-sized vehicles may be restricted from roadways during severe winter weather conditions.

Traction tires ‘required’ means passenger vehicles must use approved traction tires. Chains are required on all vehicles over 10,000 gross vehicle weight and all vehicles and loads over 10,000 gross vehicle weight rating, including large passenger trucks and SUVs.

If the snow is really coming down and accumulating, chains may be required. When tire chains are required, vehicles must install chains to continue traveling on the roadway. Four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles do not need to install chains at this point, but must still carry a set inside their vehicle in case conditions worsen.

Finally, before any mountain pass highway is closed by heavy snow, the final step is chains required on all vehicles, even four-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive. Heavy snow amounts often result in dangerous avalanche conditions and road crews will close the highway to conduct avalanche control which usually takes a few hours to complete.

Tire dealers now offer another winter tire option – stud-free winter traction tires that are legal for year-round use and do not create the same roadway damage as studded tires. These stud-free tires have a more aggressive tire tread and are different from ‘all-season’ tires.

For more information about WSDOT’s proper winter driving tires and chains, visit their tire and chains website.

The winter storm season is here for the Cascade highways. Before driving into the Cascades, always check the latest Cascade mountain forecasts and avalanche conditions from the Northwest Avalanche Center at nwac.us.

And effective Nov. 1, pass conditions from the WSDOT can be found online, including current weather, temperatures, road conditions, and any traction advisories. If heavy snow is expected or occurring, consider delaying your trip across the Cascades until the storm has passed and highway crews have had a chance to clear the highway of snow.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Detectives are investigating a Seattle drive-by shooting that happened early Saturday mornin...

Julia Dallas

Seattle police: Woman shot in both hands in early morning drive-by shooting

Detectives are investigating a Seattle drive-by shooting that happened early Saturday morning. A woman was shot in her hands.

9 hours ago

Photo: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon...

MyNorthwest and KIRO Newsradio staff

‘Bring it on:’ Washington officials react to Biden dropping out of the race

Washington officials have reacted to President Joe Biden dropping out of the 2024 presidential election.

15 hours ago

I-5 pedestrian killed...

Bill Kaczaraba

Man killed in hit-and-run on Interstate 5 in Seattle

The Washington State Patrol is in the process of gathering further details about a traffic incident on Interstate-5that left one man dead.

2 days ago

Tegu Tazz...

KATY WADE, KIRO 7 NEWS

Granite Falls alligator turns out to be escaped pet tegu named ‘Tazz’

Reports of a 10-foot alligator have turned out to be an “incredibly docile and friendly” pet tegu by the name of Tazz.

2 days ago

Apartment fire in Sotuh Lake Union. (via KIRO 7)...

Bill Kaczaraba

South Lake Union apartment fire contained, 2 may be injured

An apartment fire in South Lake Union has been contained, but two people may have been injured.. The fire was in the 320 block of 7th Ave N but units remain in the area. Authorities are asking you to avoid the area. Firefighters are on scene at a reported fire in an apartment building in […]

2 days ago

CrowdStrike...

MATT O'BRIEN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

How a faulty CrowdStrike update crashed computers around the world

All it took was one faulty CrowdStrike software update to cause global disruptions that grounded flights, and other services.

2 days ago

Winter weather increases need for traction tires in WA