Winter Weather Tips

Winter weather can make travel unpredictable. The intensity of a single snow and ice storm can vary significantly throughout the region because of the Puget Sound area's unique weather patterns.

In the Seattle/King County area, we receive on average at least one significant snowfall annually. The next time it happens, be ready!

Winterize Your Vehicle

Make sure your car and tires are in good condition and maintain a full tank of gas.

Store blankets, a bag of sand, a shovel, a window scraper, flares and warm clothes in the trunk. Also carry a set of properly sized tire chains in your vehicle — and learn how to put them on!

Winter Preparedness Checklists

Vehicle Preparedness

  • Warm clothes in trunk
  • Chains in trunk
  • Full gas tank
  • Sand / shovel in trunk
  • Window ice scraper
  • Flares / flashlight in trunk
  • Antifreeze

Family Emergency Plan

  • Familiarity with school and daycare plans
  • Alternative shelter plans
  • Alternative transportation arrangements
  • Identified snow routes
  • Bus timetables

Home Preparedness

  • Battery-operated radio / flashlights
  • Fresh batteries
  • Well-stocked provisions

Put Safety First

  • Keep in mind that it's the responsibility of the property owner to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice.
  • Do not sled on roads and streets. Even roads and streets that have been closed can be dangerous.
  • Drive only if necessary.
  • Don't follow closely behind snowplows or sanding trucks. They may stop suddenly or spray sand, rocks or other material.

Driving in Winter Weather

  • Don't be in a hurry.
  • Don't tailgate! It takes three to nine times longer to stop on rain, snow and ice.
  • Take caution on bridges or overpasses. Elevated surfaces freeze faster and may be more slippery when the roads are wet and icy.
  • Remember: wipers on, lights on. Whenever your wipers are on, you need lights to be seen.
  • Carefully plan your trip. Avoid streets that are hazardous in bad weather, such as those with hills, dangerous curves and heavy traffic.
  • Brake slowly. Avoid making sudden moves with brakes, steering or speed. Remember, four-wheel or all-wheel drive will not help you stop!
  • Look ahead. Reduce your speed gradually before you reach stop signs, traffic lights or curves in the road.
  • Listen to travel advisories and weather reports during your travel. Be prepared to stay off the roads if advised to do so.
  • Wait at home or work for traffic to clear.
  • Use tire chains, if needed.

Caring for Pets

During inclement weather, keep pets inside or limit their time outdoors. Outdoor pets still need a warm and secure shelter, such as a garage or insulated pet house, as well as water that will not freeze.

What to Avoid

Hundreds of people die accidentally each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by appliances that are not used properly or that are malfunctioning. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never burn charcoal inside homes, tents, campers, vans, trucks, garages or mobile homes. Also, never use gasoline-powered equipment indoors.