WSDOT says driving without snow chains can cost you hundreds

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SEATTLE -- WSDOT is warning drivers if they don’t have snow chains, it could lead to hefty fines this winter.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Cascades. Snow is expected to start falling early Tuesday morning and continue throughout the entire day. NWS Seattle estimates 1-2 feet of snow at 2500 ft, and 3 feet at higher elevations.

NWS Seattle says travel through the passes could be difficult or impossible, and visibility will be greatly reduced.

“I try to stay off the pass when it’s this bad,” said McKenna Lautenbach.

Lautenbach was driving through the pass on her way home to Bellingham. She says she has snow tires but does not have chains.

This is something WSDOT says could cost you big bucks this winter season.

During winter weather WSDOT says:

  • 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.

Ignoring the chain requirements will cost you $500, WSDOT says.

At a Chevron gas station along the Snoqualmie Pass, employees say they sold dozens of chains this week.

“Last night we sold a lot of chains, every other customer was chains,” said Penny Abbott, who works at the Chevron.

Abbott says they love the extra business this time of year, but it’s best to make sure your care is already prepared for the winter weather before you drive through the pass.

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