Trade those tire chains for socks? | News brief

A Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) blog explains the latest news in winter traction gear.

Each year, when the first snowfall hits, the agency is asked what it means when the sign says “Chains Required.”

According to the agency, it means most cars have to chain up — even those with studded tires. Studded tires don’t take the place of chains.

The blog explains: “Most of the time, those with four-wheel or all-wheel drive don’t have to chain up. You may be surprised to know that even four- and all-wheel drivers do need to have chains available in the vehicle.”

It is the law, Washington Administrative Code, WAC (204-24-035), on traction devices.

Yet, some vehicles are not designed for chain use.

In the past, those vehicles would not be allowed on the roadway during ‘Chains Required’ postings.

But this year, instead of chains, you can pull socks over your tires.

A product called ‘AutoSock’ was certified “as meeting or exceeding chain requirements for use when Chains Required signs are posted.”

Only the AutoSock brand has been approved for highways in Washington state.

For more, call Washington State Patrol Equipment and Standards Section: (360) 596-4017 or email

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates