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Being Prepared for Winter Deliveries: Chain Laws by State

By Williams Logistics, Inc on 12-19-2023

Being Prepared for Winter Deliveries: Chain Laws by State

Winter driving can be quite challenging, especially when it comes to snowy and icy roads. One way to improve your traction and safety on these roads is by using snow chains on your tires. However, not all states require the use of snow chains, and even those that do may have different laws and regulations regarding their use. In this blog post, we'll take a look at snow chain laws by state.

California Chain Laws

Required to Carry: There’s no regulation for truckers to carry snow chains during certain months of the year

Required to Equip: In California, snow chains could be required on certain entrances to mountainous highways. These roads will have special “Chain are Required” signage that will be activated under severe winter weather conditions.

Notes: In addition, there are checkpoints to ensure tractor-trailers are equipped to safely drive in elevated conditions. The requirement applies to all vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive and snow tires. Failure to comply with the law can result in fines.

Learn more about the specific details of California chain laws at the California Department of Transportation’s website

Colorado Chain Laws

Required to Carry: Commercial vehicles are required to have snow chains on hand from Sept 1st through May 31st

Required to Equip: In Colorado, I-70 between the Dotsero exit (MP 133) and Morrison exit (MP 259) is regulated by chain laws. If the Colorado chain laws are in effect, commercial vehicles are required to use snow chains or other traction devices while traveling through the area. Passenger vehicles are not required to use snow chains but are encouraged to do so when driving in snowy or icy conditions. 

Notes: Keep in mind that Colorado chain laws may be activated at any time during severe winter weather conditions. Always keep an eye out for posted chain requirement signs on other primary roadways with ascending and descending grades.

Learn more about the specific details of Colorado chain laws at the Colorado Department of Transportation’s website

Idaho Chain Laws

Required to Carry: There’s no regulation for truckers to carry snow chains during certain months of the year

Required to Equip: In Idaho, snow chains could be required on I-90 east of Coeur d’Alene, US-12 at the Montana border, and other posted highways during specified periods of the year. These roads will have special “Chains are Required” signage that will be activated under severe winter weather conditions. 

Notes: The requirement applies to all vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive and snow tires.

Learn more about the specific details of Idaho chain laws at the Idaho Department of Transportation’s website

Montana Chain Laws

Required to Carry: Commercial vehicles are required to have snow chains on hand from Oct 1st through April 30th

Required to Equip: In Montana, commercial vehicles could be required to use snow chains or other traction devices on certain roads and passes. These roads will have “Chains are Required” signs that are activated.

Notes: Passenger vehicles are not required to use snow chains but are encouraged to do so when driving in snowy or icy conditions.

Learn more about the specific details of Montana chain laws at the Montana Department of Transportation’s website

Nevada Chain Laws

Required to Carry: There’s no regulation for truckers to carry snow chains during certain months of the year

Required to Equip: In Nevada, snow chains are required on certain mountainous roads when posted “Chains are Required” signs are activated. 

Notes: The requirement applies to all vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive and snow tires.

Learn more about the specific details of Nevada chain laws at the Nevada Department of Transportation’s website

Oregon Chain Laws

Required to Carry: Commercial vehicles are required to have snow chains on hand when traveling on roads with special “Snow Zone: Carry Chains or Traction Tires” are posted.

Required to Equip: In Oregon, snow chains are required on all highways where posted “Chains are Required” signs are activated. 

Notes: The requirement applies to all vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive and snow tires.

Learn more about the specific details of Oregon chain laws at the Oregon Department of Transportation’s website

Utah Chain Laws

Required to Carry: There’s no regulation for truckers to carry snow chains during certain months of the year

Required to Equip: In Utah, commercial vehicles are required to use snow chains or other traction devices on certain roads during hazardous weather conditions

Notes: Passenger vehicles are not required to use snow chains but are encouraged to do so when driving in snowy or icy conditions.

Learn more about the specific details of Utah chain laws at the Utah Department of Transportation’s website

Washington State Chain Laws

Required to Carry: Commercial vehicles are not required, but encouraged to have snow chains on hand from Nov 1st through March 31st

Required to Equip: Elevated roads will have special “Chains are Required” signs which will be activated in adverse weather conditions. 

Notes: In Washington, commercial vehicles should carry chains and approved traction tires from November through March. Keep in mind that studded tires don’t work as a replacement for snow chains.

Learn more about the specific details of Washington chain laws at the Washington Department of Transportation’s website

Wyoming Chain Laws

Required to Carry: There’s no regulation for truckers to carry snow chains during certain months of the year

Required to Equip: In Wyoming, commercial vehicles are required to use snow chains or other traction devices on certain roads. These roads will have activated “Chains are Required” signs when Wyoming Chain Laws are in effect. 

Notes: Wyoming has a two-tiered system for chain requirements, which can be implemented when conditions warrant. Level 1 requires chains to be equipped on commercial vehicles. Level 2 requires snow chains on two of the drive wheels at opposite ends of the same drive axle. Failure to comply with the law can result in fines.

Learn more about the specific details of Wyoming chain laws at the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s website

Other States 

Other states throughout the U.S. typically don’t require the use of snow chains, but rather state permission to use them during icy road conditions.

Learn more about chain laws by state

Final Thoughts

It's important to note that snow chain laws can change from year to year, and it's always a good idea to check the latest regulations before heading out on the road. Additionally, it's important to make sure that you use the correct size and type of snow chains for your vehicle and tires, as well as practice putting them on and taking them off before you need them in an emergency. Also, remember that weather conditions can change at any time. It’s always better to have your snow chains on hand, in case you need to stop and equip them.

In conclusion, snow chain laws vary by state, but they all have one thing in common: they are designed to improve safety on snowy and icy roads. By following these laws and using snow chains or other traction devices when required, you can help protect yourself and others while driving in winter conditions.