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What are snow chains?

Snow chains, or tire chains are metal chains that are secured around your vehicle tires to help you drive through highly compacted and dense snow. They are designed "to take advantage of the weight of your car to dig into the snow and ice as you drive".

Typically, regular vehicles don't require the use of snow chains during the colder months, many newer vehicles don't recommend snow chains. However, in certain areas and conditions they can be used (check local laws for chain regulations). The people who will mostly be reliant on snow chains are semi-truck drivers passing through colder regions.

Why are snow chains used?

Snow chains are used for trekking through mountainous regions or flat regions that are densely covered in snow year round or during the winter months. When there is a good amount of snowfall, the snow can be packed down the more people travel on it, resulting in slippery and dangerous roads.

Two key things that define how snow chains work are traction and wheel spin. Adding chains to your vehicle's tires increases the grip of your tire on snow and ice-covered roads. Having more traction on your tires allows for more control when driving. As a result of the increased traction, your vehicle's tires decrease wheel spin, which occurs when "the force delivered to the tire tread via the engine is greater than the tread-to-surface friction available, which makes the tires lose traction".