How to Drive With Tire Chains

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Maximum driving speed for tire chains is usually 30 mile per hour. Learn about driving tips for snow tire chains in this free winter weather driving video from a master mechanic.

Part of the Video Series: How to Install Tire Chains
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Video Transcript

OK, in this segment, I'm going to cover some safety tips for driving your vehicle with chains and salt. And first, I just want to a brief period and touch on a couple items. Any time you're going to take your vehicle into winter driving conditions, especially in an area where I've spent a lot of time. You're in a real remote area in high altitude and its great distances in between emergency aid, phone communication, cell contact. So, you have to have your vehicle and you prepared for any conditions you might encounter. If you become break down or if you break down for any reason or become disabled, you have to be prepared to walk out of that situation or survive in that situation until somebody can come and assist you. So, there's a good list of items that should always be in your car when you attempt to go out and do winter travel, especially in remote areas. Some basic items like a shovel, extra clothes, food, plastic bags -- they work real good for water protection for both your body and other needs that you may have, items you need to protect. Sand, other types of traction devices, basic safety kit, and if possible, some other type of communication. Cell phones -- it's just kind of a hit and miss. You just want to be as prepared as possible for winter driving conditions. And keep in mind, if you break down and you have to walk with snow and everything on the ground, as little as six inches of snow can almost double your walking time. And twice that amount of snow will quadruple it. So, it can be a real serious thing to get broken down or stranded out in the winter driving situation and we want to take that into consideration. First thing to cover with chains is they do break. If they break, you must stop immediately and repair the damage or remove the link and tape up any loose items or secure any loose items. The chains will rapidly disintegrate and fall apart and can quickly and easily damage your vehicle. One of the major concerns is not just that it comes off, but it comes off cleanly and doesn't wrap around one of the drive axles. The next thing is speed. Everything has got to be done much, much slower. The maximum speed for chains is usually thirty miles an hour. I don't recommend you exceed it. You have to have chains on, there's a good reason for it and you don't want to be going faster than that. You're going to need at least twice the distance between you and the vehicle you're following at normal speeds. And you're going to need about four times the stopping distance than you would normally need. And, once your chains are applied, if you've got a vehicle that's equipped with a traction or an anti-lock brake system, you just want to apply the brakes and hold them firmly and the anti-lock system should stop the vehicle smoothly and easily. And if you have the older style brakes, you want to pulse on the brakes, very evenly and gradually. If the vehicle should start to slide, release the brake and your steering will pick back up and you'll be rolling again and then you just slowly brake back into it. Anytime you start to feel your vehicle starting to slide, you need to release the brake or back off on the gas. Whatever action you were taking was too dramatic. All your driving habits have to be done very smoothly, predictably and just take your time. The key element here is slow. Be safe. OK, that should just about conclude the safety. Also, you can find some helpful tips usually in your operator's manual and a lot of times the chain kit will come with some instructions in them that can also provide you with some good, useful tips. So, read up on all of the information you have available to yo and have a good, safe trip. Please watch our next segment and it will cover the safe removal of the chains, and then cleaning and storage.

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