It’s time for Washington drivers to bring out the chains, WSP says

Washington
Image credit: WSP

OLYMPIA, Wash. — As weather conditions worsen, Washington officials are reminding drivers to keep chains handy for those snowy, windy days on the state’s highways.

In a recent blog post, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) outlined everything you’ll need to know about traction and tire chains this winter. We’ve gathered the most important information and dissected it for anyone planning to travel through winter conditions for the holidays and into the new year.

RELATED: WSDOT: Expect travel delays, fewer snow plows due to staffing shortage

First of all, there are four signs to consider when driving through passes and highways this winter:

  • Traction Tires Advised: You may not be required to use traction tires, but it’s certainly recommended. Keep in mind that oversized vehicles may be restricted on the roadway during severe weather.
  • Traction Tires Required: All passenger vehicles must use approved traction tired with chains required on cars with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) over 10,000 + all vehicles/loads over 10,000 pounds gross weight rating (GVWR) must use traction tires. These include:
    • Tire Chains
    • Studded Tires
    • Traction Tires – tires labeled as all-season, all-weather, or snow tire (must be labeled M+S or with mountain/snow symbol on the sidewall)
  • Tire Chains Required: Unless your vehicle has 4-Wheel Drive (4WD) or All-Wheel Drive (AWD), you must install chains on your tires. All vehicles need to carry a set of chains in case weather conditions worsen.
  • Chains Required on All Vehicles: The final signs before the pass is closed, all vehicles—including AWD and 4WD—must install chains.

WSP and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) suggest that all vehicles carry chains in case of severe weather conditions on the roadway. Studded tires do not meet this requirement.

It's time for Washington drivers to bring out the chains, WSP says

Image credit: WSP

For more information about alternative traction devices for your tires, refer to the WSP chart above.

The following notes from State Troopers will give you everything you need to know about driving in bad weather:

  • Reduce your speed. Speed limits are set for ideal conditions.
  • Increase your following distance.
  • Make sure your headlights, taillights, and wipers are in good working condition.
  • Check the traffic/conditions before you go; visit WSDOT’s website and/or their Twitter.
  • Bring water, snacks, blankets and gloves.
  • Pay attention and put any distractions away.
  • Bring a cell phone with charger (but don’t use it while driving!)
  • Have abrasive materials (like kitty litter or sand) in your car in case you get stuck in the snow.
  • Carry jumper cables, a flashlight, and warning devices.
  • Pack your patience.

Last, but certainly not least, this video by WSP  Sergeant Johnna Batiste will show you how to apply your tire chains properly and safely.

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