Ugh. It's that time of year again that I dread like the plague: Snow on the mountain passes.

I am sure everyone has their mountain pass horror story, so I'll skip you all the particulars of my driving through a "white-out" tale. Let's just say it was two times too many and I have been frightened by it every winter for the past decade.

If you are brave enough and need to travel to the Westside today, be advised the Washington State Department of Transportation has issued a Traction Tires Advisory in effect for Stevens Pass. Oversize vehicles are being restricted due to snow and slush on the roadway. Snow is expected over Snoqualmie Pass today (Tuesday), but so far there are no restrictions or advisories. Fortunately, there are clear skies in the forecast for the rest of the workweek.

Did you know you can dial 5-1-1 to get a traveler information hotline? You can use the touchtone keypad or speak your request for information on mountain passes, traffic, express lanes, weather, ferries or travel phone numbers. Get a mobile-friendly quick look at all WSDOT info and alerts by clicking here.

Here is a handy list of stuff you should always keep in your car if you are traveling over snowy passes this fall and winter: A quality ice scraper, tire chains, jumper cables, a flashlight with some fully-charged batteries, a few bottles of water, a pee cup*, a roll of toilet tissue, warm socks, a couple of thick blankets and a handheld radio (with fully-charged batteries).

*For the ladies, I recommend something like this Go Girl urination device here.

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