Winter Weather Driving Tips

Tires with snow

When the temperatures drop and snow and ice begin to appear on our roads, then it is a good time to drive (or better yet stay home) safely. Below are some helpful tips and information about Winter Driving and our Snow Plow Routes.

  1. Driving Tips
  2. Winterize Your Vehicle
  3. Vehicle Emergency Kit

Driving in the winter can be harrowing, especially in snowstorms and icy conditions.  By getting your vehicle ready for winter and using some simple tips to drive safely, you can face almost any weather Mother Nature decides to send your way.

  • Drive slowly. Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shady spots.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Before heading out, make sure to check the weather, road conditions, and traffic - familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go.
  • Avoid driving while you're fatigued to reduce driving risks.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated. Cold conditions can lower the air pressure in your tires.
  • Four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles does not necessarily mean they perform better in snow or ice.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you  (Remember, the larger the vehicle, the longer the stopping distance).
  • If you find yourself behind a snowplow, slow down and give the plow a little extra room.
  • Never pass a snow plow, especially during inclement weather.
  • Slow down and be extra cautious near chain-up and removal areas. There are often people out of their vehicles.
  • Those traveling into higher elevations should carry chains and have approved traction tires whenever winter weather is possible, especially Nov. 1 through March 31. Visit Washington State Department of Transportation to view videos and current restrictions.

Snow Plow Information

The City's Public Works Department, during snow or ice conditions, plows our streets and roads to ensure that residents can drive safely. With over 200 miles of road to manage, Public Works has to prioritize which streets are scheduled for plowing and de-icing due to limited resources. Equipment, materials, and staff are directed towards areas that drivers are at high-risk during inclement weather. Streets are prioritized for plowing based on the following factors:

  • Number of vehicles.
  • Steep hills and sharp curves.
  • Intersections and ramps.
  • Access to hospital and emergency services.

Not all public streets are scheduled for plowing. Please consult the Snow Map below for a layout of how our streets are prioritized for plowing.

Snow Ice Routes