Are All-Season Tires Good for Winter Driving in Washington State? 

Car Insurance
February 26, 2024
Close up of tire driving on snowy winter road.

Your all-season tires are perfectly acceptable for winter driving in the Evergreen State. Probably. Most of the time. In most of the state. Just make sure you have full auto insurance coverage

Does it sound like we might not be all-in for all-season tires for winter driving in all of Washington state? To put it another way, are all-season tires good in snow? Let’s scope out the story in greater detail. 

Snow Tires vs. All-Season Tires 

Think of all-season tires as being the middle ground for year-round driving. For example, average performance in the summer and in the winter. Most winters, that is. But not all places. 

The issue is tread performance. The rubber treads of all-season tires are supple when the weather is mild. They grip the road well in sunny and rainy circumstances, but they tend to harden as the temperature drops. The treads can have more problems grabbing the road under snow and black ice conditions. 

Snow tires, on the other hand, are specially designed to provide maximum traction under the slippery conditions of winter. On the other hand, the tread wears out quickly in summer driving conditions, so a snow tire does not offer all-weather performance. 

How Do Tires Relate to Winter Driving in Washington and the PNW? 

It depends on where you’re driving. Seattle, for instance, gets average winter high temperatures in the 30s Fahrenheit and only about six inches of snow annually. The numbers are similar for Tacoma and other lower-elevation Washington cities and towns. 

Not bad, right? 

Funny picture of man staring intently at his tire.

But in higher elevations, winter weather driving conditions can be brutal. In some mountain areas, some roads are closed all winter long because driving them is so potentially dangerous. Mount Ranier and Mount Baker, for instance, are two of the snowiest places in the nation. 

For these reasons, when deciding on snow tires or all-season tires for winter driving in Washington, think about where you live and how your tires have performed in past years. What driving challenges have you faced in previous winters? 

And just how much driving do you intend to do this winter in these parts? 

Winter Driving Solutions in Washington 

Don’t try to get through the season with a bad winter tire if you live in one of the coldest or snowiest destinations in the Evergreen State. 

But if you drive in Washington areas that are usually mild in winter, you can have all-season tires under you if you take sensible precautions. 

Keep an eye on weather bulletins. Always know what you’ll be up against before you get in your car. Consider public transportation, if available, as a better option on the worst driving days. City buses and subway systems might be more likely to get you through the elements safer than your ride. 

Better yet, don’t go out if you can avoid it during those days that might make driving a heightened risk. Can you arrange to work from home? Put off errands? After all, Washington weather in most of the state might offer a few truly bitter days, but things tend to clear up quickly. In most of the state, rain is more of a seasonal challenge than snow, sleet, and ice, and your all-season tire will handle that better. 

Carefully Consider Your Auto Insurance Options 

Regardless of where you live in the PNW or what kind of rubber you have under you, winter accidents can be unavoidable. Even if you’re careful, other motorists might drive too fast or recklessly in icy conditions and cause accidents you can’t dodge. 

That’s why full auto insurance coverage is so important. Comprehensive and collision benefits can kick in and pay for claims even if you’re at fault for an icy accident. Add roadside protection benefits, and you’ll have 24/7 access to a battery recharge, flat tire change, tow, or other services you may need. 

Call Us for Affordable and Dependable Winter Protection 

No matter how your all-weather tire vs. snow tire internal debate goes, make sure you have full auto insurance coverage this winter, just in case. 

Contact your independent Vern Fonk Insurance agent at (800) 455-8276. You can also get a quick quote online or find a Washington state office and agent near you