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Drivers have an extra two weeks to remove their studded tires this year.
The Washington State Department of Transportation extended the studded-tire season through the end of the day Monday, April 16, as forecasts call for possible winter driving conditions through the heavily-traveled Easter weekend.
"This year, we have a combination of winter weather still in the forecast for much of the state," said Chris Christopher, WSDOT director of maintenance operations.
"With spring break and Easter right around the corner, we wanted to give drivers the chance to travel before having to take off their studded tires."
Studded tires are legal in Washington from Nov. 1 to March 31, unless WSDOT grants an extension. WSDOT officials don't anticipate any further extensions beyond April 16.
"Our crews will still be out working, but we need drivers to check the forecast, carry chains and drive for conditions," Christopher said. "Close to 100 inches of snow came down on Snoqualmie Pass between March 15 and April 15 last year, and drivers can expect to see snow in the mountains well into May."
No one can guarantee ice- and snow-free highways so drivers traveling to higher elevations should always prepare for winter driving conditions. This means having information on weather and roadway conditions, traction tires and chains.
Christopher said drivers who don't anticipate driving in winter conditions should take the time to remove studded tires sooner since tire stores will be very busy in the days leading up to April 16.
Commercial vehicles and combinations of vehicles more than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) are still only required to carry sufficient tire chains between Nov. 1 and April 1.
When highway advisories call for chains, all drivers (including commercial vehicles) who travel past the chains required signs without chaining up will face a $500 penalty.
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