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Winter weather safety reminders and how you can stay informed

An illustration of winter weather. Graphic: SDOT

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With temperatures expected to be below freezing much of this week and snow in the forecast, we want to remind the public to travel with caution, as street conditions may be slick and icy. While it’s a busy holiday travel week, we urge you to go slow, leave extra room for others, and be aware of your surroundings.

Our crews treat roads in advance of snow and we mobilize our winter vehicle fleet to help combat ice. Please visit our Winter Weather Response webpage for more information on how to stay safe and prepare for snow.

Here are a few safety tips if you need to travel.

Riding transit:

  • During and after a big storm, it’s safest not to drive.
  • If you do need to leave your home, taking transit is your best bet.
  • We work with King County Metro to keep bus routes as clear of snow and ice as possible.
  • Visit Metro’s Service Advisories and Metro Winter Snow Guide webpages and for more information.
  • You can also sign up for Transit Alerts, visit the Trip Planner webpage, and use Text for Departure by texting your bus stop number to 62550.


  • Thinking about biking in the snow? We have a designated team and specialized snow plow for clearing our city’s protected bike lanes, but it takes time to clear bike routes.
  • If you decide to bike in the snow, please dress for the weather with reflective clothes, use lights, and wear a helmet.
  • Conditions can change anytime, so ride slowly, use caution, and remember that drivers may need more time to stop and could be navigating unfamiliar road conditions.

Walking and rolling:

  • Please also use caution when walking or rolling, as sidewalk conditions can be slippery when covered in snow and ice.
  • With over 2,400 miles of sidewalk in Seattle, we ask you to clear ice and snow from the sidewalks, curb ramps, and drains around your home, business, and job site.
  • If you haven’t already and can, now is the time to buy a snow shovel, salt, de-icers, and any other winter equipment you need.
  • We’re counting on neighbors to come together to create a plan to clear your sidewalks of snow and ice to keep everyone in our communities safe and moving.
  • It’s not just the law; it’s the right thing to do so that everyone can travel safely during a snowstorm, especially people who have disabilities or have a harder time getting around.


If you absolutely need to drive, here are some tips for staying safe:

  • Clear your entire vehicle of snow.
  • Slow down, take your time, and be careful. Watch out for others.
  • Black ice typically forms first in shaded areas of the road and on bridges and overpasses that freeze first and melt last. Although the road leading up to a bridge may be fine, the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
  • Watch for traffic ahead and slow down immediately at the sight of brake lights, fishtailing cars, sideways skids, or emergency flashers.
  • Leave plenty of room for snow plows and other vehicles. Stay back, don’t pass, and remember that some plows throw snow on both sides as they work.
  • Pay close attention to road closure signs. If a street is closed, it is unsafe to drive on. If you can’t see any hazards, there may be black ice or a trouble spot beyond your view.
  • When traffic lights are out, you must come to a complete stop at intersections or roadways where the traffic lights are not on. You must treat the light as a stop sign. If it is a four-way intersection, you must treat it as a four-way stop.
  • If you need to report a hazard or roadblock, contact our Customer Service Team at 206-684-ROAD or email,
  • Be extra mindful of people walking and biking. Remember you are responsible for outfitting your cars with chains or traction devices for winter weather. Keep an emergency kit in your car, just in case.
Photo of many parked cars along a street in Seattle on a dark evening. Trees and large buildings, as well as street lights, are in the background, with snow and slush in the foreground.
Snow at night in Seattle earlier this month. Visibility and mobility can be challenging in these conditions, so please travel carefully. Photo: SDOT.

We also encourage you to stay informed if you need to travel, using these resources: 

  • Other regional public transportation agencies’ Twitter accounts:

Thank you for your support, and please stay safe during these winter weather conditions.