WSDOT tips for driving in harsh weather

87560344_9975572_300_3868_2579_C_R_jpgWith winter on its way, now is the time to be sure you and your vehicle are prepared for snow and ice.

The keys to a safe, stress-free winter driving season: slow down, ensure you’re equipped for emergencies and give yourself extra travel time. Washington State Department of Transportation officials say drivers also should winter-proof their vehicle now, well before the first winter storm hits.

“Prepare now so you’re ready whenever the snow starts to fly,” said James Morin, WSDOT’s snow-and-ice program manager. “We’ll be working to keep the highways open, but we also need drivers’ help to keep everyone safe and moving.”

Drivers can check out WSDOT’s winter driving web page for tips and information. WSDOT also asks drivers to always “know before you go” and get the most up-to-date roadway information before heading out.

To check conditions and prepare for snow or ice:

Download the WSDOT mobile app for smartphones.

Sign up for WSDOT email updates, use its online tools or follow WSDOT on Facebook or any of the regional and pass accounts on Twitter.

Download, print and carry the WSDOT Winter Driving Guide from wsdot.wa.gov.

Get your vehicle ready and plan extra time to cross all mountain passes, including heavily traveled routes such as Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass and White Pass.

Carry chains and know current traction and chain requirements for mountain passes, which are also available on highway-advisory signs and highway-advisory radio and by calling 511.

Preset your radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for WSDOT’s traffic information stations.

Some vehicle manufacturers recommend against the use of tire chains. The Washington State Patrol provides a list of approved alternative traction devices that are acceptable when chains or traction tires are required.

Studded tires are legal for use only between November 1 and March 31 in Washington state. Motorists are encouraged to visit a tire dealer to learn more about traction tires that are legal for year-round use. More information about studded tire restrictions and requirements can be found in the FAQ on the Washington State Patrol website wsp.wa.gov.

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