Tire chains can be useful when driving during inclement weather as they help you control the vehicle that would normally slide on the ice. Each state has different laws when it comes to using tire chains. These laws govern when you can and should use tire chains and when using them is not permitted. If you travel through the northern states, it’s important that you are aware of these tire chain laws to avoid getting penalized due to non-compliance.

Alabama

The use of tire chains is permitted on any vehicle when required for safety due to snow, rain and other conditions that can cause a vehicle to slide or skid. 

Alabama DOT Website

Alaska

Alaska’s tire chains laws vary by season and geographic region as follows:

  • For north of 60 north latitude, tire chains are not permitted on paved roads from May 1 to September 15.
  • For south of 60 north latitude, tire chains are not permitted from April 15 through September 30.
  • Tire chains are not permitted anywhere on Sterling Highway from May 1 through September 15.
  • You need special permits from the Department of Administration if you need to use tire chains in prohibited zones.

Alaska DOT Website

Arizona

The use of tire chains is allowed in Arizona so long as they are required for safe driving during a time of snow, ice or other conditions that might cause the roads to become slippery. Studded tires are permitted in the highways from October 1 to May 1. 

Arizona DOT Website

Arkansas

The use of tire chains is permissible when required for safety during a time of snow, ice, or other conditions that cause slippery highways.

Arkansas DOT Website

California

Generally, you can use tire chains in California when required to prevent sliding and skidding. During winter months, drivers may encounter traction chain controls in mountain areas. When chain controls are established, you will see signs posted along the road indicating the requirement. 

There are three requirements in California:

  • R1 – Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicles.
  • R2 – Chains or traction equipment are required on all vehicles except four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles that have snow-tread tires on all four wheels.
  • R3 – Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles with no exceptions.

California DOT Website

Colorado

In Colorado, all trucks must carry sufficient chains from September 1 to May 31 on I-70 when travelling between mile marker 259 outside Golden and mile marker 133 in Dotsero, Colorado. If you get stopped and do not carry chains on your truck, the fine is $50 plus a surcharge of $16.

When the law is in effect and you do not put chains on your tires, the fine is $500 plus a $78 surcharge. And if you end up blocking the highway because you did not put tire chains, the fine is even higher, that is $1,000 plus a $156 surcharge.

There are two chain laws in Colorado:

Level 1 – Single-axle combination commercial vehicles should chain up. Trucks should have all four drive tires in chains. All other commercial vehicles must use snow tires or chains.

Level 2 – All commercial vehicles must chain up the four drive tires.

Colorado DOT Website

Connecticut

Tire chains are allowed during hazardous weather from November 15 to April 30. The chains should not be damaging to the highway’s surface.

Connecticut DOT Website

Delaware

You can use chains on highways from October 15 through April 15.

Delaware DOT Website

Georgia

The Georgia Department of Transportation may close or limit access to certain highways at any time during inclement weather. When this happens, there will be signs on the road informing drivers of the requirements. For commercial vehicles, chains should be placed on the outermost drive tires.

Georgia DOT Website

Idaho

It is permissible to use tire chains in Idaho. Also, the officials of the Idaho Transportation Department may require chains at any time when the weather is deemed unsafe on Lookout Pass or Fourth of July Pass on Interstate 90 and on Lolo Pass on state highway 12.

Idaho DOT Website

Illinois

The use of tire chains is permissible when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Illinois DOT Website

Indiana

The use of tire chains is permissible when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Indiana DOT Website

Iowa

The use of tire chains is permissible when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Iowa DOT Website

Kansas

The use of tire chains is permissible when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Kansas DOT Website

Kentucky

No person should use chains on a highway that is not covered with ice unless the wheel rests upon an ice-shoe of at least six inches wide. When using chains on rubber-tired vehicles, the cross chains should not be more than three-fourths of an inch in thickness and should be spaced not over ten inches apart around the circumference of the tires.

Kentucky DOT Website

Louisiana

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Montana DOT Website

Maine

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Maine DOT Website

Maryland

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Maryland DOT Website

Massachusetts

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Massachusetts DOT Website

Michigan

In Michigan, you can use a tire chain of reasonable proportion required for safety due to snow, ice or other conditions that cause the road to be slippery. If using a chain, it should not come in contact with the surface of the highway.

Michigan DOT Website

Minnesota

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Minnesota DOT Website

Mississippi

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Mississippi DOT Website

Missouri

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Missouri DOT Website

Montana

If the Montana Department of Transportation determines that the dangerous conditions on a highway require tire chains or other traction equipment, the agency may establish any of the following requirements for all vehicles using the highway:

  • Chains or other approved traction equipment recommended for drive wheels
  • Chains or other approved traction equipment required for drive wheels
  • Chains required for drive wheels

Montana DOT Website

Nebraska

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Nebraska DOT Website

Nevada

Under snowy conditions when the highway has a posted sign of the required traction device, tire chains or snow tires, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle without meeting the requirement. 

If there is a posted sign of the needed traction devices, tire chains or snow tires, a motor vehicle (or combination of vehicles) should be equipped with:

  • For vehicle with a gross weight or combined gross weight of 10,000 pounds or less – traction devices, tire chains or snow tires 
  • For vehicle with a gross weight or combined gross weight of over 10,000 pounds – tire chains

Nevada DOT Website

New Hampshire

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

New Hampshire DOT Website

New Jersey

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

New Jersey DOT Website

New Mexico

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

New Mexico DOT Website

New York

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

New York DOT Website

North Carolina

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

North Carolina DOT Website

North Dakota

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

North Dakota DOT Website

Ohio

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Ohio DOT Website

Oklahoma

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Oklahoma DOT Website

Oregon

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Oregon DOT Website

Pennsylvania

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Pennsylvania DOT Website

Rhode Island

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Rhode Island DOT Website

South Carolina

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

South Carolina DOT Website

South Dakota

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

South Dakota DOT Website

Tennessee

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Tennessee DOT Website

 

Texas

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Texas DOT Website

 

Utah

When a highway is so restricted, no vehicle will be allowed to use tire chains from October 1 to April 30 or when the conditions warrant due to adverse or hazardous weather conditions or roadway conditions as determined by the Department of Transportation, unless:

  • The commercial vehicle other than a bus, with four or more drive wheels will attach tire chains to at least four of the drive wheel tires.

Utah DOT Website

 

Vermont

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Vermont DOT Website

 

Virginia

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

Virginia DOT Website

 

Washington

The use of tire chains is allowed when required for safety during snow, ice or other conditions that can cause the highways to be slippery.

However, on certain routes in the state, all commercial vehicles with 10,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) should carry sufficient tire chains from November 1 to April 1 each year and at other times when chains are required. These areas include:

  • Blewett Pass
  • Chinook Pass
  • Cle Elum to Teanaway
  • Gibbons Creek to Intersection of Cliffs Rd.
  • Mt. Baker Highway (Ellensburg to Selah)
  • Newhalem to Winthrop
  • Omak to Nespelem
  • Satus Pass
  • Sherman Pass
  • Snoqualmie Pass
  • Stevens Pass
  • White Pass

Washington DOT Website

 

West Virginia

The use of chains is allowed for safety when snow, ice or other conditions are present. If using chains, they should not be in direct contact with the road surface.

West Virginia DOT Website

 

Wisconsin

The use of chains is allowed for safety when snow, ice or other conditions are present. If using chains, they should not be in direct contact with the road surface.

Wisconsin DOT Website

 

Wyoming

When the chain law is in effect because of snow, ice or other conditions, travelling on a highway may be restricted only to those motor vehicles that utilize adequate tire chains or snow tires. 

There are two levels of requirements needed:

  • Level 1 – Travel can be restricted to vehicles with tire chains, snow tires or all wheel drive.
  • Level 2 – Under extremely hazardous conditions, travel can be restricted to vehicles equipped with tire chains or all-wheel drive vehicles with mud and snow tires or all-weather-rated tires.

Wyoming DOT Website

 

While we try to make everything accurate, it’s always a good idea to check for more details with a state’s Department of Transportation. We hope that this guide can help you comply with the tire chain requirements in various states.