Know How to Use Tire Chains

chainingAre you Ready to Shift into Winter?

While chain control laws have been in effect since October in many jurisdictions, a number of drivers have not had to use them. It is the driver’s responsibility to know the road conditions and equip their vehicle for those conditions.

“As a professional driver, it is your responsibility to determine whether or not it is safe to drive when you encounter adverse weather and road conditions. If you determine that you can safely proceed, you must comply with any chain laws that are in effect and with state highway regulations. Do not enter any closed highway! “


Chain Rule No 1. Make sure the chains will fit your tires.

Tire sizes are different and so are chain sizes. Do a “dry run” and make sure the chains are properly fitted for the tires.

Bungee cords can add some tension and take up some of the slack. Bungee cords cannot make an improperly sized tire chain work.

Chain Rule No. 2 Take up as much “slack” in the chain as you can.

Tighten the chains as much as possible on the wheel. Make the chain as tight as possible on the wheel. Then use bungee chords to keep the chain from slinging out.

Chain Rule No. 3  Drive slowly with chains.

Top speeds with chains will be 15 MPH to 20 MPH. Driving much faster will cause the chain to sling out and possibly come loose or come apart.

Chain Rule No. 4. De-chain as soon as possible.

Once the vehicle has passed through the hazardous area, stop and remove the chains.

Chain Rule No. 5. If road conditions are dangerous and risky, do not drive.

Check weather reports, if adverse weather is anticipated. Know your company policy for driving in adverse weather. Do not drive if it is dangerous. Even if your vehicle is under control, other drivers or unanticipated road conditions may be a danger.

“Adverse driving conditions means snow, sleet, fog, other adverse weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, none of which were apparent on the basis of information known to the person dispatching the run at the time it was begun.”

49 CFR Part 395.2 Definitions.

Local authorities may prohibit vehicles from further travel if they believe the roadway is unsafe or the vehicle should not proceed.  Vehicles with cable type chains may be restricted due to local conditions.

Other Considerations

• Have proper outerwear as coveralls, rain-wear or waterproof pants. Have a good flashlight, extra batteries and emergency backups in reserve,

• If the tire chains have a locking cam with a cam key, keep a spare chain cam key and put another in your emergency kit.

• Have extra bungee cords. Bungee cords often break or slip off.

Always wear proper eye protection (approved safety glasses— ANSI Z87.1-2010 Certified) when using bungee cords.

• The legal tread depth for mud and snow tires is 6/32” minimum in California.

• Know the chain laws for the areas you are driving in. For example, California does not have any specific dates when vehicles are required to carry chains.

Chain Training

Training and practice in the use of chains is always advisable.

Some companies have drivers practice mounting chains on a set of free duals, used for that purpose.

semi truck snow tire chains







how to mount tire chains

Thank you for reading this. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday.

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What is a DOT Safety Audit?

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