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STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Controls - Snow Tires, Traction Devices
and ROAD CONDITIONS

STATE OF CALIFORNIA 
Chain Requirements

The California vehicle code section 605 defines tire traction devices as follows: " Tire Traction Devices are devices or mechanisms having a composition and design capable of improving vehicle traction, braking and cornering ability upon snow or ice-covered surfaces. Tire traction devices shall be constructed and assembled to provide sufficient structural integrity and to prevent accidental detachment from vehicles. Tire traction devices shall, at the time of manufacture or final assembly, bear a permanent impression indicating the name, initials or trademark of the assembling company or primary manufacturer, and the country in which the devices were manufactured or assembled in final form."

The Department of Transportation does not sell nor recommend specific brands of Tire Chains. It is best to check your vehicle manufacturers specifications for use of tire chains.
Types of Chain Controls

During the winter months motorists may encounter traction device controls in the mountain areas of California. When chain controls are established signs along side the road will be opened indicating the type of requirement. There are three requirements in California.

Requirement One (R1): Chains are required, snow tires are allowed.

Requirement Two (R2): Chains are required on all vehicles except four wheel drive vehicles
with snow tires on all four wheels.
(NOTE: Four wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas)

Requirement Three (R3): Chains are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.

FOR CURRENT UP TO THE MINUTE ROAD CONDITIONS AND TIRE CHAIN REQUIREMENTS 

 
 
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Which Tires To Chain Up:


Automobiles and Light Trucks

Automobiles and light trucks must use chains on both tires of the drive axle.  
If you have  a four-wheel drive vehicle and only intend to chain up two tires, always check the owners manual for advice on which axle to chain up.  To alleviate confusion and retain as much of the normal handling characteristics of your 4WD/AWD as possible, install traction devices on all four tires.  Under normal driving conditions, a vehicle has about the same amount of traction at each wheel, creating a feeling of "normal" control during braking, acceleration and cornering.  Under snow and ice conditions this balance is destroyed.  If snow chains are installed only on the front tires, the rear of the vehicle can react unpredictably during braking and driving. If snow chains are only installed on the rear tires, the steering ability of the vehicle is limited.  To get this balance back, the vehicle should be completely equipped with snow chains.  Remember that traction devices are sold in pairs.  Therefore, if you want to cover both axles (all four tire) on the vehicle, you must purchase two pairs.

RECOMMENDED TIRE CHAIN INSTALLATION: