Winter weather means you might need to chain your tires, but there are laws that you should be aware of. Sometimes chain up law tickets can be hundreds of dollars; it is good to know each state’s chain up laws for 2020 to avoid fines and to stay safe on the road. Chain laws vary by state, some states are very strict with their chain up laws and some do not have very many regulations around them. We have complied each state’s chain up laws below.
These States allow the use of tire chains when they are required for safety during a time of snow, ice, or another condition that may cause slippery highways:
These states allow the use of chains for safety when snow, ice or other conditions are present. If chains are used, they must not come in direct contact with the roads surface:
The use of tire chains shall be permitted upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, rain, or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.
You are not permitted to use chains from May 1 through September 15 when north of 60 North Latitude.
You are not permitted to use chains from April 15 through September 30 when south of 60 North Latitude.
If you are operating a vehicle on Sterling Highway, you are not permitted to use chains from May 1 through September 15.
You will need to obtain a special permit from the Department of Administration if you would like to use chains in one of these prohibited zones.
California does not require trucks to carry chains during any specified time period. When the weather hits, though, it takes at least eight chains for a standard tractor-trailer configuration to comply with the regulations.
During the winter months, there might be traction chain controls in the mountain areas. When these are established you will see signs posted along the highway. These signs will also include the type of requirement, which will include one of the following:
Requirement 1 (R1) – Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four wheel/ all-wheel drive vehicles.
Requirement 2 (R2) – Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four wheel/ all-wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.
Requirement 3 (R3) – Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.
From September 1 through May 31, all trucks must carry sufficient chains on I-70 when traveling between mile marker 259 outside Golden, CO and mile marker 133 in Dotsero, CO.
Colorado has two different types of chain laws:
Level 1 – Single-axle combination commercial vehicles must chain up. Trucks must have all four drive tires in chains. When level 1 is in effect, all other commercial vehicles must have snow tires or chains.
Level 2 – When level 2 is in effect, all commercial vehicles are required to chain up the four drive tires.
Chains are permitted during hazardous weather from November 15 through April 30. The chains cannot be damaging to the highway’s surface.
You are permitted to use chains on highways from October 15 through April 15.
Tire chains are permitted when required for safety, but they must not damage the road.
At any time the Georgia Department of Transportation may close or limit access to certain highways during inclement weather. If this occurs, signage will be placed to inform drivers that chains are required in order to proceed.
For commercial vehicles, chains must be placed on the outermost drive tires.
Tire chains are not permitted
Officials with the Idaho Department of Transportation can determine that it is unsafe to drive over Lookout Pass and Fourth of July Pass on I-90, and Lolo Pass on Highway 12. If it is deemed unsafe, then you will be required to chain up a minimum of one tire on each drive axle and one axle at or near the rear.
No person shall use on a highway not covered with ice a vehicle with a chained wheel unless the wheel rests upon an ice-shoe at least 6 inches wide. When 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 inches apart, around the circumference of the tires.
Massachusetts prohibits the use of studded tires and chains between May 1 and Nov. 1 without a permit. The use of tire chains are allowed when required for safety during a time of snow, ice, or another condition that might cause slippery highways.
No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any road or highway of this state between the first day of April and the first day of November while the motor vehicle is equipped with tires containing metal or carbide studs. The use of tire chains are allowed when required for safety during a time of snow, ice, or another condition that might cause slippery highways.
If the Montana Department of Transportation determines that highways are too dangerous for travel, they may establish the following recommendations on traction devices:
Chains or other approved traction devices recommended for drive wheels
Chains or other approved traction devices required for drive wheels
Chains required for drive wheels
It is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle, whether it is an emergency vehicle or otherwise, without traction devices, tire chains or snow tires upon any street or highway, under icy or snowy conditions, when the highway is marked or posted with signs for the requirement of traction devices, chains, or snow tires.
If a highway is marked or posted with signs requiring the use of traction devices, tire chains or snow tires, a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles must be equipped with:
Traction devices, tire chains or snow tires if it has a gross weight or combined gross weight of 10,000 pounds or less.
Tire chains if it has a gross weight or combined gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds.
North Dakota also allows metal studs within 1/16 inch beyond tread from Oct. 15 through April 15. The use of tire chains are allowed when required for safety during a time of snow, ice, or another condition that might cause slippery highways.
The South Dakota DOT has the authority to restrict travel on roads. Signs will alert you to these restrictions. The use of tire chains are allowed when required for safety during a time of snow, ice, or another condition that might cause slippery highways.
When any designated highway is so restricted no vehicle shall be allowed or permitted the use of the highway, during the period between October 1 and April 30, or when conditions warrant due to adverse, or hazardous weather or roadway conditions, as determined by the Utah Department of Transportation, unless:
An operator of a commercial vehicle with four or more drive wheels, other than a bus, shall affix tire chains to at least four of the drive wheel tires.
Vermont has a traffic committee that will decide if use of chains will be required. The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during a time of snow, ice, or another condition that might cause slippery highways. Vehicles with semitrailers or trailers that have a tandem-drive axle towing a trailer shall have 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, one tire on each side of each drive axle: and
On one tire of the front axle and one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer.
Any commercial vehicle over 10,000 lbs. Gross vehicle weight rating should carry chains from November 1 to April 1 when driving on one of the following routes:
- Blewett Pass; SR-97 between MP 145 and Milepost 185
- Chinook Pass; SR-410 Enumclaw (MP 25) to SR-12 (MP 342)
- Cle Elum to Teanaway; SR-970 Cle Elum (MP 0) to Teanaway (MP 10)
- Gibbons Creek to Intersection of Cliffs Rd.; SR-14 Gibbons Creek (MP 18) to Intersection of Cliffs Rd. (MP 108)
- Baker Highway (Ellensburg to Selah); SR-542 (MP22) to (MP 57); I-82 from Ellensburg (MP 3) to Selah (MP 26)
- Newhalem to Winthrop; SR-20 Newhalem (MP 120) to Winthrop (MP 192)
- Omak to Nespelem; SR-155 Omak (MP 79) to Nespelem (MP 45)
- Satus Pass; SR-97 Columbia River (MP 00) to Toppenish (MP 59)
- Sherman Pass; SR-20 Tonasket (MP 262) to Kettle Falls (MP 342)
- Snoqualmie Pass; I-90 North Bend (MP 32) and Ellensburg (MP 101)
- Stevens Pass; SR-2 Dryden (MP 108) to Index (MP 36)
- White Pass; SR-12 Packwood (MP 135) to Naches (MP 187)
When the chain law is in effect due to snow, ice or other conditions, travel on a highway may be restricted to use only by motor
vehicles utilizing adequate snow tires or tire chains. There are two levels.
Level 1: When conditions are hazardous, travel can be restricted to vehicles equipped with tire chains, 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 equipped with adequate mud and snow or all-weather-rated tires.
The operator of a commercial vehicle shall affix tire chains to at least two (2) of the drive wheels of the vehicle at opposite ends of the same drive axle when the vehicle is required to utilize tire chains under this subsection.
Any driver that is in violation will face a fine of no more than $250. If the violation results in the closure of all lanes in one or both directions of a highway, you will face a fine of no more than $750.