Nearly one in four weather-related car accidents occur on snowy or icy pavement.
Winter weather can become a major hazard for drivers, and most car tires aren’t equipped to run on slippery roads. That’s where car tire chains become an essential tool for those living in cold-weather areas.
But are car tire chains really necessary when driving on snow or ice? Read on to learn how these chains work and when you should use them.
What Do Tire Chains Do?
Tire chains are chains that wrap around your vehicle’s tires, adding texture and grip. When the ground is covered in snow, slush, or ice, the chains help the weight of the vehicle sink down, preventing dangerous slips and slides on the road.
Because tire chains are designed to grip onto whatever they come in contact with, they can cause damage to roads if used improperly. And if used too often, they can also cause damage to your tires.
When to Use Tire Chains
Standard vehicle tires are typically enough for most road conditions. However, there are certain times when tire chains will be necessary.
The best way to know if car tire chains are needed is to check your local area’s laws. Each state and country has their own requirements for when you must drive with chains. Refer to local rules for the most accurate information.
Besides learning the laws where you live, you can also expect to need tire chains when the road is slippery. If you must drive on unpaved snow or dangerously icy streets, tire chains can help prevent an accident.
Another situation where tire chains can come in handy is when you must drive on snowy mountains or hills. Whether going uphill or down, the unstable elevation can make it easier to slide around, which can be extremely dangerous for you as a driver. Chains can help you navigate steep roads safely.
One exception that may exempt you from needing tire chains is having snow tires already installed on your vehicle. Snow tires are designed to run in snowy conditions, which can be a great option if your area has regular snowfall.
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Tips for Using Car Tire Chains
Chains may be necessary for your car tires, but there are a few tips you should keep in mind before using them.
First, installing and removing chains can be difficult for beginners. Try practicing putting them on and taking them off before you’ll need them.
And when you do finally need them, only use your tire chains on streets that are covered in a layer of snow, slush, or ice. If you enter a bare or already-paved road, safely pull over and remove the chains before proceeding. Failing to remove the chains can damage the pavement and your tires.
Also be sure to drive very carefully when using chains. It’s best to avoid exceeding 30 mph.
Stay Safe in the Snow
Snowy weather doesn’t have to keep you off the road, but car tire chains may be necessary for safety.
Use these tips when using your chains, and stay safe all winter long.
Looking for more advice for when you’re out on the road? Check out our latest travel articles to inspire your next road trip!