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Drivers have through April 25 to remove their studded tires.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) extended the studded-tire season through the end of the day April 25, because forecasts call for possible winter driving conditions across the mountain passes and in the state's higher elevations.
"Winter is not quite over in the mountains. We have had close to 4 feet of snow in the mountains since April 1, and forecasts call for 1 to 2 feet more through the end of next week," said Chris Christopher, WSDOT director of maintenance operations.
While in the lowlands travelers can expect more spring-like weather, those who aren't traveling over the mountain passes should remove their studded tires now, Christopher said.
Studded tires are legal in Washington Nov. 1-March 31, unless WSDOT grants an extension. Today's announcement marks the third extension this year, and WSDOT officials don't anticipate any further extensions beyond April 25.
WSDOT officials remain concerned about safety and roadway damage caused by studded tires. Research on studded tires consistently shows that vehicles equipped with studded tires require longer stopping distance than vehicles with normal tires when snow isn't a factor.
No one can guarantee ice- and snow-free roadways, so motorists must always be cautious when driving in wet and cold weather. Remember the key elements to safe winter driving - ice and snow, take it slow.
Crews will continue clearing the passes; however, people traveling into higher elevations should always prepare for winter driving conditions. This means having information on weather and roadway conditions, traction tires and chains.
Drivers who don't follow Washington's rules of the road risk a visit from law enforcement.
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