Traction Devices - Chaining Tires
What are tire traction devices?
Tire traction devices are defined in the Washington Vehicle Code (VC) as “devices or mechanisms having a composition and design capable of improving vehicle traction, braking, and cornering ability upon snow or ice-covered surfaces,” and include conventional link-type tire chains and cable chains, as well as other less conventional devices such as “Spikes Spyder.” When the term “chains” is used here, it means any “tire traction device” unless it specifically states link-type chain.
What are Automatic Traction Devices (A.T.D.'s) and are they legal in Washington?
Automatic Traction Devices (A.T.D.'s) are used primarily on commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, and busses. ATD's are devices mounted under the vehicle that sling chain segments under the inside drive wheels. These devices can be deployed by the driver when the need for extra traction is required.
Are chains required on the inside “duals” on 2-axle vehicles (trucks, buses, RVs, etc.)?
Not usually, but under severe conditions, the Washington Department of Transportation may require chains on the inside duals if conditions warrant. (If conditions are this severe, it may be better to postpone the trip.)
Are “all-weather” or “all-terrain” tires the same as “snow” tires?
They may be. Snow tires have the designation “Mud & Snow” or an abbreviation such as “M-S,” “M+S,” or “M/S” marked on the tire sidewall. Tires without this designation are not considered snow tires. Snow tires must also have at least 6/32-inch (3/16”) of tread depth (about 1/2 of the original tread depth).
Are cable chains permitted?
Usually. They are permitted for passenger cars and light trucks under virtually all conditions. Cables are not as effective as link-type chain under severe conditions at higher elevations and steep grades for “big-rigs” and may not be permitted depending on local conditions as determined by the Washington Department of Transportation. Whenever chain controls are posted, heavy trucks are usually required to have link-type chain on at least the main drive axle.
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What are tire traction devices? What are Automatic Traction Devices (A.T.D.'s) and are they legal in Washington? Are chains required on the inside “duals” on 2-axle vehicles (trucks, buses, RVs, etc.)?More
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