Chains on Semi-Trucks – When They Should Be Used

Chains on Semi-Trucks – When They Should Be Used


Driving a semi-truck in snowy weather is risky business, and even experienced drivers know they need every advantage they can get.  Snow chains on the tires can be such an advantage, as they provide that added traction that is missing in inclement weather.

As with cars, the size of chains you use will depend upon the size of tires that are on your truck.  Your parts store where you purchase your chains can assist you in your selection.  However, once you have them and know how to put them on, when should you use them?

State Requirements

Did you know that some states have requirements for using chains during certain weather conditions or when the truck is over a certain weight?  Those chains offer more traction which is necessary for slippery roads and for hills and mountains as well.  Often these requirements cover certain highways that are considered steep grade; check with each state’s individual requirements on their own websites to be sure of these areas.

You may even notice warning signs on the highways stating that you’re entering a chain required area; don’t ignore these warnings as they’re for your protection as much as anything else.

Other Times to Use Chains

Snowy weather is the obvious answer of when to use tire chains.  However, if some states require the use of chains on steep grades, wouldn’t that be reason enough to consider using them on other hilly areas even if they’re not legally required?  This can keep you safe and give you added control over your rig.

During snow emergencies you should also consider adding chains even if you’re on level roads.  That added traction will mean more ability to stop quickly, and this is imperative in order to avoid a pileup which is all too common when a semi-truck is involved.

There are times when you don’t want to put on chains; this may include those roads that are wet from rain and being slick.  Those chains typically don’t help on roads that are simply slippery due to being weight and may just do damage to the highway more than anything. This article is not intended to provide legal advice.


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