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Chains and Traction Tires - ODOT guide

When the sign on the highway says chains or traction tires are required, it means you must either put chains on both tires of the drive axle, or have “traction tires”. But, note that “mud and snow” tires are NOT considered “traction tires”. Traction tires are only studded tires or special tires displaying a mountain symbol with a snowflake.

 There is an exception to this rule. You can get by without traction tires or chains if your car is a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive passenger vehicle satisfying all of the following conditions:

v      Weighs less than 6,500 pounds or less (when unloaded);

v      4-whell drive is engaged (power goes to all wheels);

v      You carry chains (just in case);

v      The car has mud & snow, all weather radial, or traction tires on all of its wheels;

v      The car is not towing another vehicle or trailer.

This is why 4-wheel drive cars can proceed without chaining up.

 

For more info about chain laws from the Oregon Department of Transportation, see:

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/winterdriving.shtml#Chains_and_traction_tires

and

http://www.tripcheck.com/Pages/RCMap.asp?mainNav=RoadConditions&staticNav=ChainLaws

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