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Old 10-29-2022, 11:11 PM   #1
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Tire chains in the mountains.

We will go from Saskatchewan to Arizona this winter in a 40’ DP, with a toad. We’ve made the trip several times in the past.
In lots of areas, signage suggests tire chains are required when travelling over mountain passes. They don’t need to be installed but there are areas where you need to have them with you.
Does anybody have them? If so, what do you have? Have you ever used them?
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Old 10-29-2022, 11:39 PM   #2
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Typically they say “traction devices” and therefore these are what I’ve been looking at as opposed to chains. Definitely lighter than chains and I suspect easier to install.

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Of course, I would hope to never need them, but they would meet the legal requirements.
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Old 10-30-2022, 08:38 AM   #3
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Socks may not be acceptable in some areas.
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Old 10-30-2022, 10:45 AM   #4
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You will have to look at the specific regulations for each state as to what they require.

Many states will allow traction socks and they do work well. They are not a replacement for a good set of chains, nor are chains a good replacement for what socks can do.

I carry chains in both of my tow vehicles and a set for the trailer (I know you are in a motorhome). I would not be caught without them in the winter, you never know what can happen. Last year we went over one of the passes and the roads were bare and wet, the next day there was a blizzard and a 100 car pile up.

I know others say "wait it out" but what happens if you are in it? For me traction devices are to get out of a situation and not head into one. Of course there is the legal aspect also.
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Old 10-30-2022, 12:37 PM   #5
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A law requiring is not a suggestion.
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Old 10-30-2022, 12:56 PM   #6
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You probably could use cable-chains .. but if you get into situation bad enough.. you will need chains.. but cable chains lighter and easier to get on..
Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 10-30-2022, 01:02 PM   #7
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Putting chains on a 40 ft. Diesel Monaco would be hell. Not much room in the wheel wells.
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Old 10-30-2022, 08:05 PM   #8
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Law in Oregon is that you must have chains. I carry them but will never install then. I'll wait out the weather
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Old 10-30-2022, 08:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
Law in Oregon is that you must have chains. I carry them but will never install then. I'll wait out the weather
They have an exception on "chains" for Private/non Commercial vehicles.. ie cable and "Sox's" are also approved.
For our coach [Foretravel with tag] the outboard air bags do not allow enough clearance between the outside duel tires and the airbags that are inline with those tires for use of conventional Tire Chains..
In order to meet the "Must Carry" laws of several states I just carry 2 bags of the Soxs.. They take up very little room and weigh less that 3 lbs total...

Even tho they will fit and work well with our setup, I will just wait out the weather.. Even if it takes a week or two.
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Old 10-30-2022, 08:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
Law in Oregon is that you must have chains. I carry them but will never install then. I'll wait out the weather
Same here!
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Old 10-31-2022, 12:50 PM   #11
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We got stuck once leaving Yosemite. The road crews were using a tractor with a blade to remove snow, but actually cut the snow into an ice sheet and made the roads even worse. We were in a Class C and came around a corner and had to stop as our friends in their F'ver had slid into a snowbank. When I stopped, my front end just slid over to the bank.

I had cable chains and installed them; we drove slowly until we were out of the snow. I was very impressed with the cable chains, BUT my Class C had very open wheel wells.

Fast forward to our first DP and I bought a set of cable chains for my 22.5 tires. They stored easily and met the requirements for having chains. With that said, the wheel well openings on my Monaco Diplomat were very tight and really didn't allow for the chains to be used safely, let alone cables. One good dip in the road and would probably tear up the wheel wells. I would never chain up a DP, just wait it out unless it's an absolute emergency.
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Old 10-31-2022, 01:31 PM   #12
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They have an exception on "chains" for Private/non Commercial vehicles.. ie cable and "Sox's" are also approved.
No such exception in Oregon. Chains are required to be carried when posted. At times it may be posted that chains must be used. When it's really bad, police only allow chained up vehicles to pass a checkpoint.

Four wheel drive vehicles with winter tires do not have to chain up, but still must carry chains. 4WD does have to chain up if towing anything.
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Old 10-31-2022, 03:54 PM   #13
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They have an exception on "chains" for Private/non Commercial vehicles..
You may be referring to vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less. Vehicles rated over that GVW must adhere to chain laws that include carrying chains during the winder whether a commercial vehicle or not.

Since the OP has a diesel pusher, chains (or equivalent) must be carried by law. But you are correct, the term "chains" include link chains, cable chains, or other approved devices that include the AutoSock.




Mountain Art: Being a native of the PNW (northwest region of the U.S.) and having driven commercial vehicles, trucks and buses, across the Cascades, Blues, and the Rockies, many times back in the 1970s, I agree with those who said to just wait it out. You have a house on wheels so just pull over and watch a video, have something to eat, take a nap, etc. until conditions improve as it's no fun installing chains on 22.5" tires.

I had take heavy link chains on and off so many times on commercial vehicles during that time going over the mountain passes that I don't even want to think about doing it again. Not only that, but chains, even cable chains, can cause a lot of damage to a motorhome if they come loose and/or a link starts flopping around not to even mention when the get tangled up between the duals. And as has been mentioned, sometimes the clearance on some motorhomes will not even allow chains to be installed.

It's cold and wet and no fun to hassle with it. The AutoSocks can become useless in certain types of snow conditions that exist sometimes in heavy snow and/or ice. But as mentioned, you do want to carry some type of traction device so you can prove you have them and are abiding by the law just in case you're involved in an accident, even on dry pavement, whether your fault or not. Some troopers in WA, OR, CA, etc. will ask to see them if you are pulled over for anything including if involved in an accident. I believe in OR, it's an $800 fine and WA a $500 fine for not carrying chains or equivalent during the times they're required.

In WA state, it's November 1st through April 1st and they must be carried during those times for ALL vehicles over 10,000 pounds GVWR in the 12 designated areas. Oregon will have similar requirements and will have what they refer to as "Snow Zones" but chain laws are by state so I'd suggest to read the laws in each state you plan on traveling through.

Safe travels and have a relaxing trip ...a relaxing trip means pulling over and taking it easy when the "chains required" signs are up!




(eta: I forget to mention that what I've posted is only my understanding of the law and I always strive not to come across like a know-it-all as I've been accused of doing many times on the forum. I'm far from knowing it all and I always welcome to be corrected if my understanding or what I write is blatantly wrong ...which if often as many here know)
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Old 11-01-2022, 10:41 AM   #14
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To me, motor home, snow and chains do not go together. If either snow is forecast or chains are mentioned, I'm not going. It's not worth the risk.
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