Studded-tire season begins again Nov. 1

Oct 27, 2023, 7:44 AM | Updated: 8:57 am

Winter driving...

Make sure you have items such as a first aid kit in your car in case you get in a bad situation on the roadways. (Photo: Gerry Broome, AP)

(Photo: Gerry Broome, AP)

Nov. 1 is when studded tires become legal again in the state of Washington. This applies to all vehicles including those from outside of the state, with no exceptions.

If you need traction tires before Wednesday, Tina Werner of the State Department of Transportation suggested to, “(explore) all of your traction options, which can include non-studded winter tread tires, which are different from all-season tires. They’re legal all year round and they don’t tear up the road.”

If traction tires are too expensive for you, chains are another really great solution when it comes to providing more traction for your vehicle.

“They do cause some wear and tear to our roads but nowhere to the effect that we see with studded tires,” Werner said.

Another option is the tire sock which is easy to install but intended for short-term use.

Chokepoints from Chris Sullivan: Washington roads are on a ‘glide path to failure,’ WSDOT says

Looking at other options

Tire socks — also known as snow socks or auto socks — are textile devices that wrap around a vehicle’s tires to increase traction on snow and ice. They are made of a woven fabric with an elastomer attached to the inner and/or outer edge. The woven fabric covers the tire tread and is the contact point between the vehicle and the road.

Unlike the tire sock, studded tires do not meet chain requirements.

You still need to install chains over studded tires to continue driving in posted areas. Failure to comply with chain requirements could bring a fine of up to $500.

If you have never installed chains before, Tina has this tip: “Consider putting on chains maybe in their driveway this time of year to get a good practice in as opposed to being on the side of (Interstate 90) on Snoqualmie Pass and it’s dumping.”

March 31 is when studded tires need to come off to cut down on damage to our roadways. Studded tires cost the state upwards of $29 million in damages every winter. That includes damages to city and county roads.

Washington weather: Frost, ice return to Puget Sound, but expect Halloween to be dry

The State Department of Transportation typically extends this date if winter conditions still exist. And before you head over the passes it’s always a good idea to fill up with gas.

“Make sure you have a go kit,” Werner said. “Have winter essentials that are available ready to go in your vehicle, because as we know in Washington, weather can change quite rapidly.”

You can read more of Nate Connors’ stories here. Follow the KIRO Newsradio traffic team on X, formerly known as Twitter, for more traffic updates.


Image: Red and white reflective stripes are being added to Washington State Department of Transport...

Chris Sullivan

Going green isn’t what you think when it comes to WSDOT safety

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is tired of people plowing into trucks and is taking a green approach.

5 hours ago

Photo: Traffic on I-5....

Micki Gamez

Prepare for traffic: Sound Transit to close lane of I-5 south

Washington has two seasons: winter and construction. Sound Transit is going to close one lane on I-5 south.

20 hours ago

ballard closures...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: Closures are clogging Ballard, and will be for next two months

Getting through Ballard along 15th Avenue Northwest can be hard enough as it is, and that was before the closures.

2 days ago

I-405 multi-car collision...

Frank Sumrall

Multiple lanes on I-405 North closed near Bellevue due to multi-car collision

Multiple lanes on Interstate 405 (I-405) heading north are closed near Coal Creek Parkway after a multi-car collision.

2 days ago

Photo: The Washington State Patrol is cracking down on people who cut in ferry lines....

James Lynch

Don’t be that person: State troopers fine ferry line cutters $145

Have you ever been frustrated by a driver who cut in line at a ferry terminal? Now the Washington State Patrol is cracking down.

3 days ago

5-car crash sr 900...

Frank Sumrall

Mustang causes 5-car crash on SR 900 after veering onto oncoming traffic

A 5-car crash on State Route 900 (SR 900) in Renton Sunday led to four injured individuals, a five-hour highway backup and a brush fire.

3 days ago

Studded-tire season begins again Nov. 1