Getting Traction in the New Year
… Traction options for RVs and tow vehicles for winter driving
To chain, or not to chain…that is the question! And, it doesn’t stop there.
Here are a few alternative traction devices for RVs, toads and tow vehicles, and a little information about each:
You’ve seen the dreaded signs, “Chain Law In Effect” and you know what’s coming up the road – snow and ice! It’s best to pay attention because the fines you’ll get if you proceed without chains and get caught, might be deeper than the snow you’re trying to drive through.
Chains are heavy, they tangle, they are sometimes difficult to install…and they are effective in both snow and on ice!
To install chains on motorhomes and dualie tow vehicles you’ll need to chain up on the outer “drive” wheels. On 4 wheel and all wheel drive vehicles, chains need to be on all four corners. Once installed, the ladder like pattern of the chains are great for acceleration and stopping….
BUT, know that you’ll only be able to travel at 20-25 miles an hour with your chains on. (Given the road conditions that you’ll be on it’s probably best to keep your speed down anyway!) The ride is going to be rough, too.
One last thing – don’t forget to tighten your chains once they are on the tires. Loose chains are not only ineffective, but they can also cause damage to the RV body and tires.
Tire cables are lighter and less prone to tangling than chains. Their diagonal pattern works well on trailers because they provide sway control better than chain’s “ladder type” pattern. Cables are not as durable as chains, but you also don’t have the speed restrictions that come with chains.
Some states, like Colorado, do not permit tire cables as alternate traction devices. As always, it’s best to do your homework and check with state authorities before you head out.
Most traction straps are made from nylon and deeply textured. These traction devices perform like chains. The strap that runs across the tire tread acts much like the cross piece on chains and helps to “bite” the snow to keep you moving forward in deep snow or to stop easier on icy pavement.
Snow socks – also known as TTD or textile traction devices – were initially developed and used in Scandanavia. The cloth gets wet and allows the snow to stick helping the tires grab the road. TTDs are lightweight and can be installed without tools, plus they center themselves on the tire as you drive! The vehicle ride is also much smoother than chains or straps.
Sound too good to be true? It is…socks are super easy but not very durable. Expect to only get 300-400 miles out of a sock. So it’s very important to remove them as soon as the roads clear. And, just like chains, your speed will be greatly reduced – down to about 20 miles per hour. Also, although approved in all 50 states, only the AutoSock brand is allowed as a TTD (textile traction device).
Need more info? Always confirm each state’s regulations on an official state site or your can check out https://www.tirechainsrus.com/tire-chains-laws.html
Some states have no chain laws at all. You don’t need to worry if you are traveling in Washington DC, Vermont, New Hampshire, Missouri, Hawaii and Florida.
Our advise? Head south or wait for better weather!