If your company drivers find themselves in icy or snowy conditions, do they know when and how to safely install tire chains? Perhaps a more important question is: would your employees admit if they don’t know how to put tire chains on safely?

Using tire chains is at times the only way to keep a vehicle moving while traveling through snowy, mountainous areas. While winter tires may provide traction, sometimes they just aren’t enough to get your drivers safely through harsh weather conditions.

And light-duty vehicles with four-wheel drive (or all-wheel drive) may give drivers a false sense of security. All-wheel drive vehicles, even with advanced traction control, don’t brake any better on snow or ice than a normal vehicle. Four-wheel drive trucks, SUVs and crossover vehicles may accelerate better in slick conditions, but four-wheel drive won’t help the vehicle stop when needed.

The only things that can help are tire chains, snow tires or studded tires.

Whether you manage a fleet of commercial vehicles, supervise delivery drivers or oversee a mobile sales force, all your drivers should have the knowledge — and confidence — to quickly and safely install tire chains.

The Challenges of Installing Tire Chains

Installing tire chains isn’t always easy. Whether it’s a semi-truck or light-duty vehicle, the chains have to go on one wheel at a time, usually in the worst possible weather conditions. Spending an hour (or potentially more) chaining up doesn’t have a lot of appeal.

The conditions can also be dangerous. Visibility is usually poor, and on a busy road, there’s always the chance of a close call with a passing vehicle. Many drivers are reluctant to leave the warm, safe comfort of their vehicles.

The best way to overcome a driver’s reluctance to use tire chains is to help them gain confidence in their skills. Put another way: the worst time and place to learn how to install tire chains is kneeling in slush on the side of the road.

Looking for winter driving safety tips for employees? Download our free resource bundle! 

winter driving safety resources

Tire Chain Tips for Fleets

When the flakes start to fly, will your fleet be ready? Here are a few best practices:

Confirm who’s in charge of checking chain requirements.

Be clear about who’s responsible (drivers, dispatchers or the maintenance crew) for confirming local requirements before drivers set out on their journey. Some states require that all vehicles carry chains during specific months of the year. Certain jurisdictions also have requirements on which tires and axles must have chains installed.

Encourage drivers to practice putting chains on in a warm, dry space.

Send out training videos with tips and best practices, or offer a training clinic on how to put tire chains on. Once drivers familiarize themselves with the process and gain more confidence, they’ll likely be able to install their tire chains in half the time.

Ensure drivers have what they need.

Provide the right tire chains for each vehicle, as well as some helpful supplies such as:

  • Nimble, water-resistant gloves
  • A reflective safety vest
  • Reflective road triangles or other safety markers
  • Extra links, connectors, bands and other necessary parts in case something breaks
  • A rubber mat to kneel on

Having the knowledge and confidence to install tire chains when conditions are at their worst will help drivers make the safe choice should they find themselves in treacherous conditions. Training drivers on how to put chains on is one of several valuable winter weather skills that can minimize expensive winter incidents and injuries.

To help your fleet prioritize safety throughout the winter season, we’ve created a free winter driving safety tips and resource bundle. This package will help you reinforce winter driving safety best practices with your drivers and provide strategies on how to prevent winter crashes before they occur.

Just visit the link below to gain access to our informative webinar for weatherproofing your winter safety plan, comprehensive winter safety guide, pre-trip inspection checklist, winter driving safety poster and much more!


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