Despite having all-terrain tires, there are some weather and road conditions where they just aren’t enough. Adding a snow chain to your vehicle can provide the extra traction and stability you need to navigate icy roads. In some states it is even required by law to use them under certain conditions. So, when should you put on chains and what laws should you be aware of?
When should you use snow chains?
According to The Trucker, the laws around the use of snow chains vary from state to state, but in general you should only use them when necessary. That means if you’re driving in deep snow, on icy roads, or through mud or other slippery conditions, chains can help improve traction and prevent your vehicle from getting stuck.
Using snow chains contrary to the manufacturer’s recommendations or when it is not necessary can do more harm than good. For example, driving it on dry road surfaces can easily damage the roads (leading to costly fines) and damage your tires, suspension and other vehicle components.
Laws on tire chains
Different tire chain laws in different states regulate the use of the car accessory by drivers. Some states require chains under certain conditions, while others leave it up to the driver. Below are states with tire chain laws and restrictions:
New Hampshire (NH)
New Jersey (NJ)
New York (NY)
Rhode Island (RI)
South Dakota (SD)
West Virginia (WV)
For example, in some states, such as California and Oregon, there are no specific laws regarding snow chains. However, Roadside Assistance will place signs where the use of chains is advised.
Meanwhile, there are no tire chain laws in states like Florida, Hawaii, Vermont, Washington, DC, Missouri, and New Hampshire.
In some states where snow chains are required, it is usually only for certain vehicles such as trucks, buses, RVs, or cars with trailers. The law may also stipulate that drivers may only use certain chains, so it is essential to check with your country’s transportation department before purchasing and installing them.
The importance of a good installation
While on open icy roads, snow chains become a requirement to protect yourself and other drivers. Most snow chains are made of steel or alloy, which fit over the tire and dig into the ground for grip. The chains also help maintain traction, which is essential for stopping and turning.
They also help reduce the risk of injury if you go off the road and hit something. Snow chains can help maintain traction and improve safety when snowfall or ice make regular tires unsafe.
Precautions and speed limits for driving a car with snow chains
When driving a vehicle fitted with snow chains, it is essential to drive slowly to avoid damage to your vehicle or the roads. The speed limit should not exceed 30 mph, according to Vehicle Freak. At high speeds, the chains are more likely to come loose or break.
Snow chains are ineffective when driving on bare pavement and should be removed immediately to prevent damage. In addition, they are more likely to slip on bare pavement, so drivers must be careful when braking and turning.
Always perform a regular inspection to tighten the chains if they become loose. It is also essential to watch for damage, such as cuts or frays, that could cause the chains to break.
Snow chains can be a lifesaver if used correctly, but it’s essential to know your state’s laws and use them only when necessary. When in doubt, it is always best to err on the side of caution and put the chains on. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to winter weather.
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