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How Do Snow Chains Work?

22 June 2015, 12:04

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Snow chains work simply by increasing the amount of grip that tyres have on the roads when they are icy or covered in snow. Increasing the traction between the car and the road makes driving in adverse wintery conditions much safer as it reduces the chance of cars losing control and skidding on icy surfaces.

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Snow chains are not a permanent fixture of the car. They are a series of chains which are wrapped around the tyres and which fit tightly over the wheels so that they do not become dislodged in transit. For this reason, it is incredibly important that you choose the right size of snow chains, as it could be very dangerous if you purchase the wrong type. Well-fitting snow chains can even outperform winter tyres. They are much thicker than the tread on your tyres, even if you have winter tyres fitted to your car, which makes them more efficient at creating grip on the road.

Get winter chains for your car

The chains need to be fitted to the wheels which drive the car forward. If your car is front wheel drive, then this is where the traction will be needed most in order to keep the car safe. If your car is rear wheel drive then you will need to fit the chains to the back tyres. You can drive with snow chains on all four of your tyres, but this is generally considered to be unnecessary, unless you have a 4x4 vehicle.

The chains are made from a strong and durable metal which allows them to bear the whole weight of the vehicle without breaking. You can count on snow chains to last for many winters as long as you use them safely and in the correct conditions. You should never drive on surfaces which are not covered in ice and/or snow whilst you have snow chains attached to your wheels. They are designed to sink into the protective layer of compacted ice or snow, which provides a barrier between the chains and the road surface.

There is a good chance that without the layer of snow to protect against the chains, you could severely damage both the road surface and your tyres. You will also dramatically shorten the life expectancy of the chains if you drive on tarmac or hard surfaces with them fitted. To ensure that they do their job in keeping you protected on those wintery roads, make sure you respect the limitations. Don’t drive at speeds over 30mph when they are fitted, make sure the correct locking systems are set up and don’t drive on anything other than snow or ice.

If you'd like to know more information about rules for snow chains and winter tyres in all of the EU countries, visit

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