Where Do You Need Tire Chains?

Where Do You Need Tire Chains?

tire chain laws

We have listed the rules and regulations of each state and province as to where and when you need to put tire chains on.

It’s getting to be that time of year again folks, when the ice and snow start to fly (brrrr!). This means refreshing your knowledge on safe winter driving, and how to prepare your vehicle. This includes throwing a set of tire chains into your vehicle for hazardous weather.

Click Here To Get Your Free Checklist for Prepping Your Vehicle for Winter

One major piece of equipment to outfit your vehicle for the winter is tire chains and studded tires. Before you hit the road, it is important to check the laws of each state and province you are travelling to, as each has different laws and regulations regarding use of tire chains and studded tires.

To make it easy as possible for you, we have compiled the rules and regulations for both Canadian provinces and the U.S. states for you here. Hit the toggles for your destinations and you will know when and where you can (or perhaps are even required) to outfit your tires with gear for snow and ice.

Canada Tire Chain Regulations by Province

Tire chains are optional, however do take care when using as you can be fined if you cause damage to roads when using them.

As quoted from the Government of BC’s website: “Many highways in BC have mandatory tire chain requirements. Requirements run Oct 1- Mar 31, with some highways extended to April 30 to account for heavy snowfall areas.

Commercial trucks weighing between 5,000 kg to 27,000 kg GVW primarily use chains for additional traction, but may use tires with the 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol or the M+S symbol if available for their vehicle class.

Commercial vehicles 27,000 kg GVW and greater, such as tractor trailers, are required to carry chains or be equipped with other traction devices on most major highways.

Studded tires may only be used on BC highways from October 1 to April 30 and the studs should not protrude more than 2 mm from the tread or traction surface of the tire. Use of studded tires outside of this period may result in a fine.”

Use this link for up to date locations of highways requiring chains http://drivebc.ca/chainup.php

No regulations for or against the use of tire chains or studded tires.

Allowed to have studded tires between October 15 and May 1st.

Studded tires permitted November 1 to April 30.

Use of tire chains permitted.

Studded tires permitted between October 15 and May 31st, provided the type of stud does not cause damage to roads.

Use of tire chains is allowed.

No studded tires in Southern Ontario.

Northern Ontario permits those living in Districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Temiskaming are allowed to use lightweight, Scandinavian studs between September 1st and May 31st.

Studded tires are permitted from October 1st to May 31st.

All vehicles in Quebec must have winter tires December 15 to March 15. Studded tires are permitted between October 15 and May 1st. However, they can only be used on passenger vehicles, taxis, and commercial vehicles under 3000kg. Tire chains are allowed on any emergency vehicle, farm tractor, or road vehicle used for winter maintenance and snow removal.

Studded tires allowed from October 1 to May 31 provided that the studs are not more than 3.2 mm beyond the tread of the tire, and the tire is not more than five percent of the surface.

No regulations for or against the use of tire chains or studded tires.

Tire chains not required, but recommended during winter months.

U.S. Tire Chain Regulations by State

Tire chain usage is permitted for poor weather as long as the chains do not damage the highway surface

Tire chains and studded tires are permitted between September 16 and April 30th when you are North of 60 North Latitude, and October 1st to April 14th when south of 60 North Latitude. The execption lies with the Sterling Highway in which chain and studs are only permitted between September 16th and April 30th.

Tire chain and studded tires are permitted on Arizona highways from Oct. 1 to May 1 when road conditions are snowy and icy.

Tire chains permitted if necessary, but cannot damage roads.

During winter months in high mountain passes, California will post some highways as needing chains. The California Deportment of Transportation has a few rules for chaining up, so take a peek before you go.

Studded snow tires are permitted in California from November 1 until April 30 each year, however they are not permitted in lieu of tire chains on required roads.

Colorado requires commercial vehicles to have tire chains (or an approved traction device) in the vehicle from September 1 to May 31 while on the I70 Corridor, from Dotsero (MM 133) to Golden (MM 259). It also requires that commercial vehicles to have 4 or more drive wheels covered with an appropriate traction device (except buses).

Studded tires are permitted between November 15th and April 30th.

Studded tires are permitted between October 15 to April 15.

Tire chains of reasonable proportions may be used upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.

Tire chains permitted during poor weather causing skidding, as long as chains do not damage road surfaces.

Georgia can declare highways as requiring tire chains. Specific to commercial vehicles (other than buses) with four or more drive wheels must put tire chains to a least four of the drive wheel tires when highways have designated chain up areas.

Studded tires are permitted October 1 and April 30. Tire chain up areas will be posted, so be sure to carry a set with you when travelling in Idaho so you won’t need to turn back.

Tire chains permitted during poor weather.

Tire chains permitted, and studded tires are allowed between October 1st and May 1st.

Studded tires permitted for safety between November 1st and April 1st.

Tire chains and studded traction equipment are permitted during snow and ice conditions.

Tire chains are permitted, but only “where chains are used on rubber-tired vehicles, the cross chains shall be not more than three-fourths (3/4) of an inch in thickness or diameter, and shall be spaced not more than ten (10) inches apart, around the circumference of the tires”.

Tire chains permitted if necessary but cannot damage road surfaces.

Studded tires are permitted from October 2nd to April 30th when icy road conditions exist. Permits can be issued to use studded tires during prohibited months.

Tire chains permitted during ice and snow covered roads as long as they don’t damage road surfaces.

From November 1st through March 31st, vehicles registered in Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties may be equipped with studded snow tires and may be operated only in Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties. However, studded tires are not allowed on vehicles with a registered gross weight over 10,000 lbs.

In case of a declared snow emergency, chains will be required on certain designated highways.

Tire chains permitted during hazardous weather, as long as the chains don’t damage highway surfaces.

Studded tires are permitted between November 1st and April 30th, unless authorized by the registrar that conditions require the dates to be extended.

Tire chains permitted for safety during ice and snow road conditions.

Tire chains permitted for safety during ice and snow road conditions.

Tire chains permitted during poor weather, but cannot damage road surfaces.

Chains permissible, but studded tires only between November 1st and March 31st.

Tire chains are required on tractor-trailers anywhere posted in Montana, so be sure to have a set in your vehicle. Definitely be prepared if you are tackling any mountain passes

Studded tires are permitted in Montana from October 1st – May 31st. Additional information is available on types of tire equipment permitted can be found on Montana’s DOT Tire Equipment and Towing Options page.

Tire chains are permitted during ice and snow conditions when skidding is likely. Studded tires are only permitted between November 1st and April 1st.

Nevada can designate some highways as needing chains. They have two designations: Chains or Snow Tires required, or Chains Mandatory.

If the designation is Chains or Snow Tires Required then vehicles under 10,000 GVW are required to use snow tires. Vehicles over 10,000 GVW must use chain on driving wheels and braking wheels of the trailer. 4×4 vehicles are okay with four mud-snow tires.

If chains are mandatory all vehicles must have chains, the exception is once again 4×4 with four mud-snow tires.

Studded snow tires are permitted between October 1 and April 30.

All vehicles, including four-wheel drive vehicles, that are towing trailers must have chains on one drive axle. Front wheel drive vehicles must have chains on front (drive) axle. On any semi-trailer, only one set of chains is required regardless of number of axles.

Tire chains permitted during hazardous weather to prevent skidding or slipping, as long as the chains don’t damage highways.

Tire chains allowed during inclement weather when skidding and slipping may occur, as long as chains don’t damage highways.

Tire chains are permitted upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions that may cause skidding.

Studded tires are permtted between  October 16th through April 30th.

Tire chains are required when a snow emergency has been declared, and during hazardous weather provided they do not damage the surface of the road.

Tire chains allowed when needed for safety due to snow or ice causing skidding.

Tire chains are permitted, and studded tires are permitted between October 15th to April 15th.

Studded tire are permitted between November 1st to April 15th.

Tire chain usage is permitted during hazardous weather, as long as chains don’t damage the highway surface.

Tire chains are permitted during snow and ice conditions for safety.

Signs will alert you to when roads require you install chains. Traction tires may be used in place of chain on vehicles rated at 10,000 lbs GVW or less and are not towing or being towed.

Studded tires are permitted November 1 to May 31, and for use only when necessary.

Studded tires are permitted between November 1st and April 15th.

Tire chains may be temporarily used on vehicles during periods of snow and ice emergency.

Tire chains permitted during snowy and icy conditions when skidding is likely to occur.

Tire chains permitted during snow and ice conditions when skidding is likely.

Tire chains are allowed, but the department of transportation can restrict public travel on any state trunk highway system to just four-wheel drive vehicles or other motor vehicle equipped with chains.

Tire chains permitted during poor weather as long as chains don’t damage road surfaces.

Tire chains permitted during snow and ice covered road conditions.

Vehicles are required to carry chains during winter conditions when skidding is likely to occur, for at least one driving axle.

Vermont can designate specific highways as requiring chains for vehicles weighing more than 26,000 lbs GVW. Vermont has specific requirements for chains based on the type of vehicle(the following quoted from Vermont Statutes:

1) Solo vehicles (ie. Not towing another vehicle):

(A) that has a single-drive axle shall have chains on one tire on each side of the drive axle; or

(B) that has a tandem-drive axle shall have chains on:

(i) two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or

(ii) if both axles are powered by the drive line, on one tire on each side of each drive axle.

(2) Vehicles with semitrailers or trailers. Vehicles with semitrailers or trailers. A vehicle towing one or more semitrailers or trailers:

(A) that has a single-drive axle towing a trailer shall have chains on two tires on each side of the drive axle and on one tire on the front axle and on one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer;

(B) that has a single-drive axle towing a semitrailer shall have chains on two tires on each side of the drive axle and on two tires, one on each side, of any axle of the semitrailer;

(C) that has a tandem-drive axle towing a trailer shall have:

(i) chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle, or if both axles of the vehicle are powered by the drive line, on one tire on each side of each drive axle; and

(ii) chains on one tire of the front axle and on one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer;

(D) that has a tandem-drive axle towing a semitrailer shall have:

(i) chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle, or if both axles of the vehicle are powered by the drive line, on one tire on each side of each drive axle; and

(ii) chains on two tires, one on each side, of any axle of the semitrailer.

Tire chains permissible when needed for safe travel due to snow and ice. Studded tires are allowed on vehicles under 10,000 GVW between October 15th to April 15th.

The state of Washington will post when specific roads have chain up requirements. Be sure to refer to the website here so you know when they are in effect. All vehicles over 10,000 lbs GVW need to carry not only the required amount for their vehicle but also an additional two extra chains in case one breaks or extras become necessary. Plastic chains are not permitted. And it should be noted that the Washington State DOT or State Patrol may deny a vehicle access from a chain required road if they feel that the vehicle will have difficulties navigating the area.

Tire chains permitted during winter conditions as long as the chains don’t damage highway surfaces.

Tire chains may be used on any vehicle when required for safety because of snow and ice when a vehicle may skid

Wyoming’s chain law includes two levels of restrictions that can be implemented on specific highway sections when conditions warrant. The following is quoted from the Wyoming DOT website: 

Level 1: When conditions are hazardous, travel can be restricted to:

  • Vehicles equipped with tire chains; or
  • Vehicles with adequate snow tires; or
  • All-wheel-drive vehicles.

Level 2: When conditions are extremely hazardous, travel can be restricted to:

  • Vehicles equipped with tire chains; or
  • All-wheel-drive vehicles with adequate mud and snow or all-weather-rated tires.

Under Level 2, commercial vehicles must have chains on at least two of the drive wheels at opposite ends of the same drive axle. Do not stop in the driving lane to install or remove chains!

Drive Safe this Winter No Matter Your Destination

No matter where you go, and the chain and stud restrictions, make sure you drive safe. Be sure to pack an emergency kit in case you are ever stuck. Bring a cell phone with a charger or extra battery to call for assistance if needed. Pack extra winter gear such as a toque, scarf, gloves, sleeping bag. A candle for warmth, and some granola or energy bars and water in case it takes emergency vehicles some time to get to you. And remember to throw your tire chains in just in case you find yourself in need of them!

2018-10-12T18:17:38+00:00October 13th, 2018|Canadian Regulations, Trucking Safety, US Regulations|

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