Chain laws reminder

Heavy duty tire chains.

It’s getting to be that time of year again…. Tire chain season is almost here. BC requires you to carry enough chains to cover 6 tires at minimum. This means either 2 triples and 2 singles, or 6 singles and they must be tire chains. Tire cables or snow socks are not acceptable, and you will be issued a citation for using them, as well as potentially a very expensive pull up the hill.  The cost of just being pulled up a hill is in the $500-$750 range, in addition to the ticket for not having chains.

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to inspect your chains for broken links, missing parts and general conditions.  If you find broken links or cross chains, or if the cleats are worn down or missing, replace the chains immediately.  If you’ve never installed chains before, take an hour or so now to learn how to install them properly.  It will save you a lot of time and frustration when you need to install them in a chain up area, not to mention saving you some time from working in the cold, snow, and possible darkness.  If possible, ask a fellow driver with chain experience to help teach you how to install the chains. They’re not hard to install, but if you do it incorrectly, they’re not as effective and they can damage your tires.

If your tires chains are stored on an external hanger, be sure to clean them off at least once a week, as road salt sprayed on them can easily cause corrosion damage.

The law says you must carry them, but it doesn’t say you must use them. Check your company’s tire chain policy.  Some companies will require you to use them as required, while others recommend you pull over and wait until the chain restrictions are lifted.   As always, the final decision to go or wait is up to you.  If you believe the road and weather conditions are beyond your capabilities, find a safe place to park.  Do NOT allow dispatch, planners or anyone try to coerce you into driving if you’re not comfortable. You are in control of the truck, and while the company may decide where it goes, you alone decide WHEN it goes.  Do not over estimate your abilities. If most trucks are pulling over due to weather, then you probably should as well.  It’s always better to be safe, than sorry.


Don Taylor has been a professional driver since March 1985.  In 1994 he made the jump to driving tractor trailers, and has accumulated over 3.5 million miles, including over 4 years of driving turnpike doubles in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.  He is currently hauling flat decks across North America.