Chain Law Safety

With winter officially here, inclement weather is going to be more common than not. That’s why it’s so important to understand chain laws for every state you drive within. Snowy, slick or icy conditions are prevalent across the nation, which can be dangerous in a regular vehicle, let alone a fully-loaded truck and trailer.

Unfortunately, there’s no single rule for the entire country. You’ll have to make plans based on where you’re hauling. In fact, it’s a good idea to check the state’s Department of Transportation website before you set out, in case there have been emergency rules enacted. Read on to learn more about tire chain safety from the experts at a trucking company in Oakland, IA.

Why use tire chains?

Tire chains wrap around your vehicle’s tires, which helps your car gain traction in icy or snowy conditions. The chains dig into the ice and snow, using the weight of your vehicle to grip the surface. This prevents your vehicle from slipping and sliding around the road, which can lead to devastating accidents.

The reason each state has different tire chain laws is because, while they’re useful in snowy conditions, they also have the potential to damage roads. If your state isn’t prone to snow and other slick winter weather, local rules may prevent you from using chains unless the weather is extreme.

Whenever you use tire chains, keep in mind that your speed should be greatly reduced. Chains help you gain traction, but they’re not a free pass to do 70 mph, either. Stay safe by reducing your speed and pulling over when conditions are too severe.

State rules for tire chains

Here are the rules for Iowa and the surrounding states. If you’re driving further, make sure you check the laws before you set out.

In Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska, chains are allowed (not required) when there is snow, ice or other slick conditions that make driving difficult. If the weather report shows snow, rain or other wintry conditions, make sure you have chains available before you take off. Whether you need to use them or it’s safer to pull over, it’s wise to have the option available. Keep in mind that some locations within the states may require chains during severe storms, even if the general rule is that they’re not required.

Wisconsin follows the same rules as above, except that they add a caveat: if you’re using chains, they must not come into contact with the road. That’s an effort to make sure the roads aren’t damaged by drivers using chains.

Other states have more restrictive laws, often with certain levels—for example, some levels (depending on weather) prohibit driving without chains, while others allow all-weather tires in addition to chains. That’s why it’s so important to know the rules wherever you travel. Failing to comply can net large fines and tickets.

If you’re looking for more information about trucking companies and tire chain safety in Oakland, IA, call Steve Emken Trucking today. We’re happy to tell you how we keep our drivers and loads safe.