What are tire chains ?

Tire chains are devices used in improving a vehicle’s traction in icy conditions.  Tire chains come in three types –cable, diamond and link. A cable-styled chain features a set of straight metal strips that run horizontally on the face of the tire, while a diamond version, as its name suggest, has a diamond pattern that interlocks the metal strands. The link tire chain, however, is a mix of the cable and diamond styles. All of the three tire chains can be used in winter driving.

Vehicles in mountainous regions and areas where heavy snowfall occur usually require tire chains for extra traction. Some states even require all vehicles to have tire chains, or others may call “snow tires”, minimizing accidents and stranded motorists in isolated areas. However, it is important to check with your local laws, as laws regarding tire chain use vary from one state to the next.

Generally, laws on tire chains state that your vehicle must have a working tire chain without defects, such as loose or broken closing mechanisms. Some municipalities may give you a misdemeanor traffic offense if you drive with chains on bare pavement since it could be damaged by asphalt or cause damages to road surfaces.  This happens because some drivers feel that removing and re-installing tire chains is time-consuming, particularly if they would be driving back to icy conditions.

Some tire chains are designed with temporary link chain systems that automatically work during emergencies. With an extra system, such tractions would wrap around the tires, allowing drivers to avoid icy patches on the road.

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