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Old 01-07-2017, 06:06 PM   #1
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Snow chains or Snow socks

I am traveling south from Canada to Palm Springs in Febuary for the first time. Would like to know if I will Legally Need to carry chains or equivalent. Will be traveling down I 15. Also would like to hear some opinions on snow socks from someone who has actually used them.
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Old 01-07-2017, 06:36 PM   #2
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Ever watch the show "Highway thru Hell"?
One episode, one of the tow operators pointed at a stuck semi's snow socks, and laughed !!
Ben & Sharon
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Old 01-07-2017, 06:49 PM   #3
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We are going from Montana to Laughlin down I15 the end of February also. There are places that will require chains on that route (primarily passes) if the road is sufficiently snow or ice. We've been over that route as far as Vegas many times over the years pulling fifthwheels with 4x4 pickups but never had to chain up. I'm buying cable chains this week because of the limited space and if I have to use them (which I hope to never have to do) and I think they'll hold up better than the socks. Several internet places such as can tell you which states require you to carry them. The fines can be pretty stiff if you get spun out halfway up a pass somewhere. I'd rather have them and not need rather than the other way around. Don't have experience with socks although probably work fine but I wonder how they'd hold up over a few miles?
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Old 01-07-2017, 07:01 PM   #4
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I have both. Socks work good in the packed snow. If I am in freezing rain, I use chains.
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Old 01-07-2017, 07:57 PM   #5
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Here is a youtube video of a review of a sock on his Entegra MH:

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Old 01-07-2017, 08:15 PM   #6
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Go straight south to Casper, then head for Salt Lake City, then head across to the west.

Plan your departure around good weather and stop before you drive into any storms. It takes less time to wait out a storm than it does to get an insurance claim settled.
Ted 'n' Laurie, plus Jackson (aka Deputy Dog, the Parson Russell Terrier 'fur kid') and, Rylie (who crossed the Rainbow Bridge June 14, 2012).
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:33 PM   #7
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We traveled that route several times and like said above watch the weather reports and state hwy condition reports. I always watched the seven day forecast and traveled between storms and never had any problems. I do have a set of cable chains for the coach and toad but never plan to use them. They are there to prove that I have them to avoid being turned back or fined. I have had them eight years and never used them or been asked if I have them. You can google the state weather and road reports.
Have a safe trip and enjoy!!
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We came, we went, nothing broken, nothing bent!
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Old 01-07-2017, 10:54 PM   #8
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Good video of the snow sock application. I wish the audio was better so you could hear what he was saying. But I got the point.
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:57 PM   #9
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Here's an interesting side note to keep in my if considering snow socks:

In Washington state (which it doesn't appear that the OP will be traveling though but for others who may be interested), the only chain alternative accepted for a vehicle over 10,000 lbs. with five or less axles is THE AutoSock. Similar socks such as Grip Tex or SOS Grip are not approved for such a vehicle.

Attached chart for alternative traction devices approved for use when "Chains Required" signs are posted in Washington state:
Attached Files
File Type: pdf alt_traction_device_WSDOT.pdf (132.5 KB, 103 views)
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Old 01-08-2017, 06:53 AM   #10
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I have both but I will tell you this, if it requires chains them I'm overnighting. I have the AutoSocks. In packed snow or fresh snow they work pretty good. Even on a tad icy roads.
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Old 01-08-2017, 06:53 AM   #11
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FYI mine are the AL284 size
Jinger and Andy (And the Bassets Max and Zoey)
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:56 AM   #12
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Re: WADOT rules, the AutoSock would not be approved with six or more axles, so if you are towing 4 down you would not comply (that would be my own interpretation anyway).
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by capnqball View Post
Re: WADOT rules, the AutoSock would not be approved with six or more axles, so if you are towing 4 down you would not comply (that would be my own interpretation anyway).
Axles not tires.

4 tires down is still just 2 axles.

Even a large MH with a tag axle only has 3 axles.

That means most rigs would be legal.

A 45' triple axle MH with a triple axle stacker trailer would have to use chains.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:59 PM   #14
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I agree fully with markbarendt's interpretation and explanation as to the WSDOT flyer posted above.

THE AutoSock must have test results much better than any of the other similar products.

However, in talking with truckers who have used them (I've personally never used them), some of the negatives they mentioned are:

1) they wear VERY quickly once on bare pavement. Many times when traversing mountain passes when "chains required" is posted, there could be stretches of bare pavement interspersed with compact snow and ice. These bare section of the pavement could last a 1/4 mile or more depending on the mountainous region being traveled. Therefore, in a commercial application where a truck is regularly traversing mountain passes in the winter and encountering "chains required," these AutoSocks wear out very quickly and therefore become an expensive alternative to traditional chains.

2) in certain conditions where icy ridges are formed between lanes of travel, if bumping into those ridges accidentally or sometimes when changing lanes, the sock could come off the tire.

3) in the condition where pocked ice forms on the pavement --more common where a section goes un-plowed for awhile-- some have complained that tears have occurred at the seams or even on the main surface area of the sock.

With that said, for a Class A motorhome application, it may be worth carrying these AutoSocks in place of chains since they are an "approved alternative traction device" that can be considered a chain-substitute in the majority of states (I believe I read that they are approved in 45 states but I'm not sure if that's only for passenger cars or if that also pertains to heavy trucks, buses, motorhomes, etc.).

To address the OP's opening post, yes, I personally believe you should consider the AutoSock as you are required in most mountainous states to carry chains or an approved alternative traction device on-board while going through designated sections of highway in the winter months ...whether you use or intend to use them or not, you MUST carry them on-board according to law.

As others have said, if it's bad enough to have "chains required" posted, most of us will just pull over and wait it out. After all, you have a house with you. You can relax and watch TV, read, eat, nap, etc. while waiting. If on an interstate highway, typically "chains required" situations will not last too long. Sure, sometimes there will be times when an interstate is closed for a day or "chains required" is up for hours and hours but that is not the norm. Interstate highways are priorities to be kept open because of commercial traffic and all states do their best to keep them open during adverse weather conditions and keep them closed for as little time as possible.

Pertaining to chains, if you do choose to use them, make sure you have enough clearance in the wheel well area. Many Class A motorhomes do not have the clearance to run steel links. And if you do have the clearance and choose to use them, keep in mind that if a link breaks or you don't secure your fasteners or excess linkage correctly, you may do very expensive damage to the body of your motorhome ...fiberglass, paint damage, etc.
And not to mention getting steel chains or cables wrapped around in the space between the duals and having to hassle trying to get them untangled or cut off when it's freezing cold, snowing, raining or freezing raining ...don't ask me how I know.

Bottom line, as most of us profess, just pull over and wait it out under "chains required" situations.
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