Learn About Tire Chain Laws in Each State

USA, Oregon, Cascade Range, Snowstorm on Santiam Pass highway
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Chain laws are enacted across the United States as a precautionary measure during inclement weather, adding control to vehicles that would normally slide around in the snow or ice. Each state has different laws, so it is important to know where you are allowed to use chains on your vehicle, especially if you travel through many northern states.

Alabama

The use of tire chains shall be permitted upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, rain, or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.

Alaska

Alaska's rules for tire chains vary by season and geographic region:

  • Tire chains are not permitted on paved roads from May 1 through September 15 when north of 60 north latitude.
  • Tire chains are not permitted on paved roads from April 15 through September 30 when south of 60 north latitude.
  • No tire chains are permitted anywhere on Sterling Highway from May 1 through September 15.
  • Special permits are needed to run tire chains during the typically prohibited dates. These permits may be obtained from the Department of Administration.

Arizona

Chains are only permissible when necessitated due to safety concerns such as snow, ice, or rain that might cause a vehicle to skid or slide. Studded tires are permitted on Arizona highways from October 1 to May 1.

Arkansas

It shall be permissible to use tire chains of reasonable proportions upon any vehicle when required for safety.

California

In general, California drivers may use tire chains when required to prevent skidding or sliding. During the winter months, motorists may encounter traction chain controls in the mountain areas within California. When chain controls are established, signs will be posted along the road indicating the type of requirement. There are three requirements in California:

  • Requirement One (R1): Chains, traction devices, or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four-wheel/all-wheel-drive vehicles.
  • Requirement Two (R2): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four-wheel/all-wheel-drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels. Four-wheel/all-wheel-drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)
  • Requirement Three (R3): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.

Colorado

Colorado drivers may use tire chains when required for safety, so long as they don't damage the road. There are two levels of the chain law affecting commercial motor vehicles:

  • Level 1: All single-axle combination commercial vehicles chain-up. All four wheels of the power drive axle must be chained. Cables are not allowed on single drive axle combination commercial vehicles as an alternative traction device. When level 1 is in effect, all other commercial vehicles must have snow tires or chains. Level 1 may be implemented at any time there is snow covering any part of the traveled portion of the pavement on an ascending grade.
  • Level 2: When this level is enacted, all commercial vehicles are required to chain-up. Cables are not allowed on single drive axle combination units. Level 2 may be implemented any time there is snow covering the entire portion of the pavement on an ascending grade or at the discretion of the highway maintenance supervisor.

Connecticut

Tire chains are permitted for hazardous weather or other related incidents only, but they may not damage the highway surface. Tire chains are only permitted between November 15 and April 30.

Delaware

Snow tires or chains are allowed when required for safety, but they must not damage the road.

Florida

Tire chains are permitted when required for safety, but they must not damage the road.

Georgia

Use chains or snow tires if road conditions require extra traction.

Hawaii

Tire chains are not permitted in Hawaii.

Idaho

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

Illinois

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportion upon any vehicle is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.

Indiana

Tire chains of reasonable proportions may be used upon a vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.

Iowa

Tire chains of reasonable proportions may be used upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.

Kansas

Tire chains of reasonable proportions may be used upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.

Kentucky

No person shall use chains on a highway not covered with ice unless the wheel rests upon an ice-shoe at least six inches wide. This means chains are permitted when required for safety reasons.

Louisiana

Use tire chains of reasonable proportions upon any vehicle when required for safety because of conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.

Maine

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Maryland

It is permissible to use tire chains of reasonable proportions on any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.

Massachusetts

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Michigan

MCL 257.710 of the Michigan Vehicle Code covers the use of tire chains. It states that a person may "use a tire chain of reasonable proportion upon a vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other condition tending to cause a vehicle to skid." If used, the chain must not come in contact with the surface of the roadway.

Minnesota

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Mississippi

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Missouri

Chains permitted as weather dictates.

Montana

If the department of transportation determines at any time that dangerous or unsafe conditions on a highway require particular tires, tire chains, or traction equipment for vehicles in addition to or beyond the ordinary pneumatic rubber tires, the department may establish the following recommendations or requirements with respect to the use of the equipment for all vehicles using the highway:

  • Chains or other approved traction devices recommended for driver wheels
  • Chains or other approved traction devices required for driver wheels
  • Chains required for driver wheels

Nebraska

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice or other slippery conditions.

Nevada

It is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle, whether it is an emergency vehicle or otherwise, without traction devices, tire chains, or snow tires upon any street or highway, under icy or snowy conditions, when the highway is marked or posted with signs for the requirement of traction devices, chains, or snow tires.

If a highway in this state is marked or posted with signs requiring the use of traction devices, tire chains, or snow tires, a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles must be equipped with:

  • Traction devices, tire chains, or snow tires if it has a gross weight or combined gross weight of 10,000 pounds or less
  • Tire chains if it has a gross weight or combined gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds

New Hampshire

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

New Jersey

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

New Mexico

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

New York

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

North Carolina

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

North Dakota

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Additionally, every trailer or semitrailer, when operated upon a highway at a speed in excess of 25 miles [40.23 kilometers] per hour, must be equipped with safety chains or brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and to hold such vehicle, and so designed as to be applied by the driver of the towing motor vehicle from its cab, and said brakes must be so designed and connected that, in case of an accidental breakaway of the towed vehicle, the brakes are automatically applied.

Ohio

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Oklahoma

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Oregon

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Pennsylvania

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions. Transportation officials may require or restrict chain use as road conditions require.

Rhode Island

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

South Carolina

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

South Dakota

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Tennessee

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Texas

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Utah

Tire chains are permitted when required for safety, and the use of chains or alternative traction methods may be mandated by transportation officials as conditions dictate.

Vermont

The use of tire chains is permitted in Vermont, and transportation officials may mandate the use of traction devices as weather conditions mandates. When tire chains or winter tires are required, advance notice shall be given to the traveling public through signage and, whenever possible, through public service announcements. In areas where tire chains or winter tires are required, there shall be an adequate area for vehicles to pull off the traveled way to affix any chains that might be required.

Virginia

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid. 

Washington

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Road-Specific Chain Requirements: On the following routes, all vehicles and combinations of vehicles over 10,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) shall carry sufficient tire chains to meet the requirements of WAC 204-24-050 from November 1 to April 1 of each year, or at other times when chains are required for such vehicles:

  • Blewett Pass
    SR-97 between MP 145 and Milepost 185
  • Chinook Pass
    SR-410 Enumclaw (MP 25) to SR-12 (MP 342)
  • Cle Elum to Teanaway
    SR-970 Cle Elum (MP 0) to Teanaway (MP 10)
  • Gibbons Creek to Intersection of Cliffs Rd.
    SR-14 Gibbons Creek (MP 18) to Intersection of Cliffs Rd. (MP 108)
  • Mt. Baker Highway (Ellensburg to Selah)
    SR-542 (MP22) to (MP 57)
    I-82 from Ellensburg (MP 3) to Selah (MP 26)
  • Newhalem to Winthrop
    SR-20 Newhalem (MP 120) to Winthrop (MP 192)
  • Omak to Nespelem
    SR-155 Omak (MP 79) to Nespelem (MP 45)
  • Satus Pass
    SR-97 Columbia River (MP 00) to Toppenish (MP 59)
  • Sherman Pass
    SR-20 Tonasket (MP 262) to Kettle Falls (MP 342)
  • Snoqualmie Pass
    I-90 North Bend (MP 32) and Ellensburg (MP 101)
  • Stevens Pass
    SR-2 Dryden (MP 108) to Index (MP 36)
  • White Pass
    SR-12 Packwood (MP 135) to Naches (MP 187)

West Virginia

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Wisconsin

The use of tire chains of reasonable proportions is allowed when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other slippery conditions.

Wyoming

The use of tire chains is allowed, and transportation officials may require traction devices as weather conditions dictate. When the chain law is in effect due to snow, ice, or other conditions, travel on a highway may be restricted to use only by motor vehicles utilizing adequate snow tires or tire chains. There are two levels:

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