BEND, Ore. -

The rush for winter wheels is on.

"We're like three hours behind at the moment , which is not forever, but we are behind," Bob Burks of Nelson Tire Factory said Friday. 

People are rushing to get prepared for this weekend's weather forecast

"They're predicting some good snow over Mt. Hood this weekend, so be prepared for that," Cecilia Lee with AAA said.

No one wants to prepare for the worst -- but in snow country, it's better that you do.

"Have a preparation kit in your car that includes a blanket, flares, a shovel, water," Lee said.

You'll also want warm clothes, extra food, a flashlight and even kitty litter, which can help create traction if your car gets stuck on ice.

"Things that if you get stuck out, you can survive for a little while," Rex Holloway of ODOT said.

Drivers also will want to check the most important item for winter driving safety:  their tires.

"What do your tires look like? What are your tires rated for, as far as driving on the highway?" Lee said.

Studded tires and chains are necessary items here on the High Desert, especially at higher elevation.

"The state ... requires you to have chains in your car that fit your tires," Burks said.

That means it's time to brush the dust off your chains, or buy new ones if you don't have any. Chains are not always needed on your tires, but it is illegal to drive without them in your car when crossing the mountain passes in certain winter conditions, as designated by signs and advisories.      

"You'll get a big ticket," Burks said.

There's a lot to think about, and a long checklist of necessary safety items.