Snow and ice can make winter driving dangerous for truckers. However, commercial drivers can take precautions like putting chains on their tires before hitting the road.
The most important part of this process is deciding which axle to chain up. Typically, it’s the front, but truckers may also need to chain up the trailer axle depending on the weather and conditions.
When it comes to semi-truck tire chains, many drivers are not sure what to choose. The choice ultimately comes down to what the driver can afford and what the truck is capable of handling. Most drivers are independent contractors and don’t have the luxury of having a company policy to guide their decision-making. Regardless, trucking is dangerous, and it is important to be prepared for snowy or icy roads. The best way to do that is by getting a pair of durable and reliable tire chains for your semi.
Ladder chains are a popular option for semi-trucks. They consist of a series of metal links that form a ladder shape when they are carefully laid on the ground. These chains are a popular choice for drivers who live in areas with a lot of snow. They are fairly easy to install and provide good traction for driving on snow and ice. They are also relatively inexpensive and do not damage the road or cause the tires to wear out faster.
If you decide to purchase a ladder chain set, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. It is crucial to follow these instructions precisely to ensure the chains do not come loose while driving. It is also a good idea to drive the truck for a short distance after installing the chains to test them and ensure they are securely fastened.
Another option is to use a set of cable chains. These are lighter, take up less space, and are easier to install than ladder chains. They are also cheaper and do not cause as much damage as ladder chains if they break. For this reason, they are a great alternative for those drivers who cannot afford to buy a full set of ladder chains.
Whether you choose to use ladder chains or cable chains, it is important that they are correctly sized for your truck. To do this, you will need to know the standardized DOT code on your tires. This information can be found on the side of each tire, and it includes a letter that indicates vehicle type and a two-digit number that identifies the wheel size. It is critical to match the correct size chains to your truck, as incorrectly sized chains can damage the tires and pose a safety risk.
While chaining up a semi-truck may be an inconvenience, it’s an important part of winter driving. Not only does it help provide traction on snow and ice, but it also prevents the vehicle from skidding or sliding, which could lead to accidents. In some states, it’s even required by law to have tire chains on when necessary.
There are a number of different types of snow chains available, so it’s important to choose the right one for your truck. Generally speaking, traditional chains are the best choice for most vehicles because they offer more grip than other options, such as snow socks and traction mats. There are a few factors to consider when choosing the right type of chain, such as the operation and wheel dimensions of the vehicle.
Regardless of what type of chain you choose, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. It’s also recommended that drivers acquaint themselves with how to drive while using tire chains so they can avoid any problems or accidents. For example, drivers should slow down and use caution when changing lanes.
Another option for drivers looking to add traction to their tires is a set of cable chains. They’re made of hardened steel rollers that are secured onto a cable cross, making them an effective traction aid for both on- and off-road conditions. They’re a popular choice for truckers as they’re easy to install and more affordable than other chains. However, they don’t offer the same traction as chains and aren’t as durable.
The main benefit of using cable chains is that they’re more durable than other types of traction devices, and they don’t require the driver to manually adjust them. This makes them an excellent option for truckers who frequently travel in snowy areas and need traction quickly. They’re also easier to use than other types of traction devices, such as studded snow tires.
Before putting on tire chains, the driver should park in a safe location and ensure they’re clear of any obstructions. Then, they should take the chains out of their box and lay them on the ground with the hooks up. Once the chains are laid down, they should be hooked into the cams on the front face of the tire. Once the chains are attached, they can be tightened by a wrench or spider bungee.
Studded or spiral chains
When winter rolls around, most semi-drivers know it’s time to slap some snow chains on their tires. It’s a relatively simple process for most motorists, but truckers need to consider the added weight of the chains before they can install them and drive safely on ice and snow. The good news is that there are plenty of different types of chaining options for trucks, from specialized rubber straps to heavy-duty ladder chains.
In many cases, truckers choose to use a tire chain alternative that uses ratchets instead of traditional metal links. While they add to the total weight of the rig, these chains are lighter and easier to operate and handle than their steel counterparts. Plus, they come with a free ratchet that helps you tighten them up quickly. They are also very affordable and easily stored in your truck’s storage box.
These chains are made of a steel alloy containing manganese, which is stronger than standard metal. This makes them ideal for truckers who frequently encounter ice and snow but don’t want to invest in more expensive and heavier chains. Moreover, they are very quick to install compared to other types of chains and can be removed with relative ease if you no longer need them.
Unlike other kinds of tire chains, these have individual cams for each wheel. The adjustment cams can be hooked into a slot on the inside of each wheel. Once the cams are hooked, the rest of the chain is simply slipped over the tire and into place. Then, the driver can hook the end of the chain to a stud or bolt on the side of the tire. The cams then get tightened using an adjusting wrench.
It’s a good idea to practice chaining up your tires in a safe, well-lit spot before you need to do it for real on the road. This way, you’ll be much more confident and take less time when the weather gets bad. It’s also important to keep in mind that chained trucks should only be driven at highway speeds when it’s safe to do so. Driving too fast can cause the chains to come off and reduce traction.
Truck driving is a demanding and stressful career, especially when winter weather rolls around. The most important thing you can do to protect your rig, and yourself is to prepare before the storm hits. While normal drivers can slap a set of all-season radials on their SUV and be on their way, semi-trucks require special precautions. One of those precautions is the installation of tire chains.
If you’re not already in the habit of installing chains, now is the time to get started. Be sure to park in a safe location away from traffic, preferably somewhere that’s well-lit so you can see what you’re doing. It’s also important to pay attention to weather conditions so you don’t find yourself on the road in a sudden snowstorm with no chains.
Before you start working, lay the chains out flat on the ground and look them over for any twists or knots that might need to be untied. You’ll also want to make sure they’re the right size for your truck and have no holes or tears.
Once you’re ready to put the chains on, begin by putting them on the drive axle of your rig. It’s best to do this before you start driving, as the chains will cause wear on your tires while driving. If you’re unsure which axle to chain up, consult your trucking company or local Department of Transportation for guidance.
The next step is to connect the chains to the tire, which may involve getting under your rig. Use an adjusting wrench to insert into the cams on each side of the chain and turn them clockwise. This will tighten the chains, helping them grip the surface of the road and prevent them from sliding off during travel.
It’s important to note that when driving with chains, you must reduce your speed limit to about 30 mph. This is for your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.
After you’ve connected the chains and checked them for loose spots, it’s time to test them out on a dry stretch of road. Take your rig for a short drive, and be sure to check the chains for any loose spots or other issues before you head back out on the road.