Saturday, May 18, 2024

Studded tires must come off by March 31 deadline

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OLYMPIA – Springtime in the Pacific Northwest often signals blooming flowers and warmer days ahead. It also means Washington’s deadline to remove studded tires is fast approaching.

Studded tires must be removed by the end of the day Sunday, March 31, to avoid a potential fine of $137. The removal date falls on a holiday this year which could mean some shops are closed, so the Washington State Department of Transportation urges travelers to plan ahead now.

Studded tires are legal in Washington from Nov. 1 to March 31. There is no individual exception or “out of state waiver” to the studded tire dates. Tickets could be issued by the Washington State Patrol as soon as Monday, April 1. WSDOT does not issue tickets.

State law gives WSDOT the authority to extend the deadline when circumstances call for it, most commonly when a forecast indicates widespread snow and ice. While late season storms are possible in the mountain passes, there are no forecasted statewide conditions that would call for an extension to the deadline this year. For mountain travel, WSDOT recommends drivers use approved traction tires and carry chains to have handy if necessary. WSDOT crews will also watch weather closely and respond quickly to any scattered spring snow to keep travelers moving.

“We know that studded tires cause between $20 million to $29 million in damage to state-owned roads in Washington each winter and also damage city and county roads,” said WSDOT Maintenance Operations Manager James Morin. “We urge travelers to explore all their traction options, including non-stud, winter-tread tires which are different from all-season tires. These tires are legal year-round and don’t damage our highways.”

Washington and Oregon share the same studded tire removal deadline. Other states may have different studded tire removal dates, but the Washington law applies to all drivers in the state, even visitors.

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