For faster winter trips to Cottonwood canyons, drivers have new ways to get tire inspection stickers

When “traction laws” are in effect in bad weather, stickers quickly show your tires are up to par.

Winter drivers who want quicker access to the Cottonwood Canyons on snowy days have more options this year to get state-issued stickers that show their tires have been pre-inspected.

Drivers now can obtain their stickers in inspections at 13 Burt Brothers Tire & Service locations, which will “make the program more accessible to those who want to participate,” according to a news release from the Utah Department of Transportation. When the stickers were made available to the public last year, they were offered only at UDOT’s Cottonwood Maintenance Shed.

“Public feedback showed that people also wanted more opportunities to get their tires inspected and at locations more convenient to their homes and jobs,” a UDOT pamphlet states.

To get a sticker, drivers must have their tires inspected to ensure they comply with state’s requirements for driving in the Cottonwood Canyons when “traction laws” are in effect — that is, when the roads are too snowy for safe travel without chains or snow tires. The stickers confirm that a car is equipped with eligible snow tires.

“UDOT observed that many people whose tires did not qualify went out to buy new snow tires so they could participate in the program,” the pamphlet states. “This program encourages more drivers to prepare for winter conditions in the Cottonwood Canyons and supports local businesses by providing opportunities to equip drivers with proper traction devices if drivers have tires that don’t meet the requirements of the program but want to participate.”

To obtain a sticker, drivers must fill out a digital form at the UDOT Cottonwood Canyons website, visit a participating tire shop, and undergo inspection for tire size and tread depth. Those that pass get a sticker.

The process is free, and tire shops are not allowed to collect customer information for marketing purposes, UDOT said.

Having a sticker doesn’t guarantee access to the canyons — the roads sometimes are closed to all traffic during or after major storms — and it doesn’t give a driver priority to enter the canyons on busy days. But it does speed up the journey by making traction enforcement easier and preventing wrecks that can bring miles-long lines of cars to a standstill.

Stickers are be distributed on a first come, first-served basis while supplies last, UDOT advised.