Importance and Application of Tire Chains



Wintertime can be perilous for truck drivers with unexpected weather occurrences that can have drastic effects on their ability to safely deliver and complete their job. There are always many crucial safety protocols that could make a significant difference in the safety of our drivers and the other drivers around them on the road.  


During winter months, chains are required for all trucks that drive teams and travel west of the Mississippi River. As a driver who operates under a CDL, all drivers are required by law to have a tire chain on when you are traveling through the snow. We understand how challenging it can be for drivers in the winter and we want you to be prepared for any unexpected situation and how to best react to ensure the safety of you, your ship and everyone around you.  

Generally speaking, there are basic safety protocols a driver should be following on a daily basis outside of circumstantial weather conditions. For starters, a driver needs to make sure they are always doing their pre-checks before hitting the road. A simple double and even triple check during this step can make a big difference in the long-term performance of your equipment. One of the most important things a driver should do is to take it slow when these weather conditions arise. With slippery and icy roads, things can change quickly on the road so allowing more distance between yourself and the motor vehicles around you is important. 


Tire chains are an important attribute for winter safety regulations. Proper use of chains will add much needed traction to keep your trailer from slipping on the road. Tire chains must be installed, stored, and maintained correctly to increase their longevity and usability. When using your tire chains one of the essential first steps is confirming that you have the correct tire chains for your specific tires and terrain, you can click HERE to confirm you have the correct tire chains. 


Knowing how to correctly apply your tire chains is important and could be life saving when snow or ice is on the roads. For starters, you need to make sure all of your chains are correct for your vehicle’s tires and that they are all the same type of chain. The chains you have are doubles or triples, a triple contains enough for two tires while a double can cover one external tire. During this time it is necessary to ensure that none of the links are tangled as this weakens your chain and won’t allow proper installation. To check your chains before install, lay your chains flat in order to be able to see the entirety of your chain. During this process make sure all of your cams are on the outside of the tires and all your chain hooks are facing up. Cams or tensioners are rounded pieces that go along the exterior of your tires that allow you to tighten your tire chains with ease, and keep them from moving while you’re driving. This is great for added needed stability to your chains, but if you wanted to guarantee the security of your snow chains then you could add multi-arm adjusters that connect and reinforce your chains at the mid-section of the front of the tire. 

Once your chains are laid out and clear of any tangles that would prevent them from additional wear and tear you can then carefully drape your chains to the tops of your tires. Double chains are a little more simple in terms of application because they weigh less than a triple chain and smaller in terms of size. Applying your chains is not an easy process, tire chains are awkward    and heavy and need to fit on your tires just right to work properly. Try to center your chains when placing them onto the tire to help yourself when it comes to connecting and closing the chains together. From there, a driver has two options to securely wrap the chains around the tire, the first option is to use a chain grabbing tool that allows you to get low and pull one half of the chain to the other and secure them. Another option you have is to simply move the truck forward onto the chains to connect and wrap them around the tire. This method is better for when drivers are pulled over to the shoulder as it minimizes the amount of time a driver is out of the truck on the side of the road, therefore minimizing the risk the driver faces. 


To see both of these methods in action, take a look at this video HERE to see what works best for you and your situation. Overall, the proper use of chains can be life saving in dangerous weather conditions and as a driver it is your responsibility to be able to safely install them when needed. Happy Trucking!

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