We’re copying the Washington Department of Transportation’s blog post regarding when to chain up your tires while crossing a mountain pass.
Now that winter is here, the passes will be getting regular snowfall. Washington laws regarding when to use chains on your vehicle depend upon the type of vehicle and the circumstances.
It is of great importance that drivers understand and utilize chains when needed. Failing to use chains is the main cause of accidents and stuck vehicles on the pass. When these things occur, the Department of Transportation often has to shut down all traffic to address the situation, causing huge delays. The penalties for failing to drive with chains when required include a $500 fine.
The WSDOT article states:
This is a great time to remind you what the requirements are:
- Vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or greater – including some large SUVs and RVs – must install chains when traction tires are required.
- All vehicles, except 4WD and AWD, must put on chains when tire chains are required. However, 4WD and AWD vehicles still need to carry chains in order to proceed across the pass.
- All vehicles including 4WD and AWD need to put on chains when chains are required on ALL vehicles.
What if your car has smaller wheel wells and can’t take chains? Or the manufacturer doesn’t recommend chains? Well, you’re in luck. The State Patrol has compiled a list of approved alternatives you will need to use in place of chains. Not every “tire sock” chain alternative is approved as meeting our state standards, so check the WSP list before you make a purchase.
As always we have a great online toolkit to help prepare you for travel this winter, as well as our communication tools to use before you head out the door or while you’re on the road:
- Download the WSDOT mobile app.
- Follow our regional and pass accounts on Twitter, the agency’s Facebook site and online travel alerts.
- Sign up for email and/or text updates about road conditions – including Snoqualmie Pass delay text alerts.
- Check 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 our traffic information stations.
So remember: if you’re heading over Snoqualmie Pass this winter, make sure you and your vehicle are prepared to travel in the ice and snow and you understand and follow the chain requirements.