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A driver’s guide to snow tires in Utah

Snow tires are required in most Utah canyons, but does the average city driver need them?

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Cars struggle to negotiate streets in the avenues as snow falls in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022.

Cars struggle to negotiate streets in the avenues as snow falls in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Utah is having one of its “best” snow years in almost 20 years, Ski Utah reported. While winter sport enjoyers may rejoice at the increase in precipitation, winter driving conditions have led to crashes and pileups, resulting in road closures and severe traffic delays, according to data from the Utah Department of Transportation.

Whether you’re new to Utah or have been here for years, it can be beneficial to know the states’ laws around winter driving, and when or where snow tires are needed throughout the state.

Do I need snow tires in Utah? For the most part, the state of Utah doesn’t require snow tires in residential areas and on most state roads/highways.

Does the average city driver need snow tires in Utah? That depends on what kind of vehicle you drive, said Fernando, a tire mechanic at Glen’s Tires — a locally-based auto repair and tire service in West Valley City.

“If it’s an all-wheel drive, no, if it’s a front-wheel drive, yes,” during the winter months, Fernando said. In Utah, that can be anywhere between October and March, depending on the location.

As for basic snow tire recommendations, Fernando said that he’s seen a lot of success with the Toyo Observe G3-Ice tire.

No matter what tires you have, Fernando recommends slow and attentive driving during icy road conditions to ensure safe winter travels.

“Don’t accelerate too much, always go under the speed limit so you have enough time to brake,” he said.

When and where are snow tires required in Utah? According to a Utah law passed in 2019, either snow tires or traction devices, such as chains, are required for all vehicles in most Utah canyons and on certain stretches of highway.

When weather conditions permit, UDOT will send out alerts and work with local officials to notify drivers when snow tires and traction devices are required. To be safe, whenever it’s snowing or has snowed recently, drivers should use snow tires or traction devices. However, to stay in the know, drivers can check road signage, the UDOT traffic app or UDOT social media pages.

For a map of where chains or snow tires are required and more information on equipment requirements, visit the UDOT website.