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Tips and tricks for putting chains on your tires this winter

Winter is coming, but there are a few things you can do to feel prepared if you're travelling through a mountain pass that requires tire chains.

SEATTLE — With most of the mountain passes open for skiing, winter sports enthusiasts will be flocking to higher elevations to take advantage of the snow. 

In many places, tire chains are required to pass through. 

If you're a transplant or just getting out to the passes for the first time, it can be tricky installing a tire chain. 

Here are some tips to make it a bit easier: 

  • Practice installing your chains in your garage. It will be hard to do in the moment when you actually need it-- when cold winds and snow make your hands numb.
  • Make sure you're putting the chains on the correct tires. If your vehicle is front-wheel drive, put the chains in the front. If it's a rear-wheel drive, put them in the back. If you have an all-wheel drive, check your owner's manual.
  • Untangle your chains when you get them. This is not a step that can be done halfway. Make sure the chains are completely untangled so you won't have to go back. The hooks in the should be facing away from you. 

Here's how to install tire chains: For best results, make sure you're following the individual instructions that you have in your kit.  

  • After the chains have been untangled, place the hoop behind the tire.
  • Fasten the hoop.
  • Hook the first chain.
  • Push the hoop to the center of the tire.
  • Pull the second chain through the hoop.
  • Drive 15 feet forward before going on the road to make sure your chains stay. 

Make sure you also put together a winter road trip safety kit with things like water, change of clothes, blankets, snacks, an ice scraper or snow brush, sand or kitty litter for traction and a first aid kit. 

RELATED: WSDOT: Here's what you should keep in your car during winter travel

RELATED: How to drive safely in snow and ice. Hint: Steer into the skid

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