If you have a lot of driving experience in winter conditions, chances are you’re already familiar with tire chains. Tire chains can be used on everything from the biggest semi to a small motorcycle, so here’s an overview of when and how to use them.
How Tire Chains Help
Tire chains provide superior grip around a tire and should be used when winter conditions are too severe for even the best snow tires. For commercial truck drivers, there are certain areas where using chains is mandatory, and signs will advise you when and where to put them on before continuing. Chains are optional for non-commercial passenger vehicles, but having a set in the trunk is never a bad idea.
Tire chains should be installed on the drive wheels of your vehicle, so the first step is determining if your car is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. If your car is rear-wheel drive, even chains aren’t going to save you in icy conditions, use caution. Once your chains are installed, make sure to stay under the maximum speed limit outlined in your chain manual (or lacking that, 30mph). Chains don’t make you invincible in the show, they’re just another tool to give you a little extra grip. Just because you may be sure-footed in the snow doesn’t mean other vehicles are, so drive defensively.
To install your chains correctly and keep them from breaking, put them on tight and then re-tighten them after driving a short distance. Loose chains can break easily and damage your vehicle. Avoid driving too fast with chains, and driving on dry roads. Driving on dry roads with chains is doubly dangerous because your vehicle’s handling and braking will be affected.
Spring is just around the corner, but chances are most of us will be seeing a bit more snow before the season is done, so we wish you safe travels until then.
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