SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With the winter storm warning in effect for the Sierra, chains may be required when traveling at higher altitudes.
The roads become quite dangerous in the snow, and some agencies are warning drivers to stay of the road completely. CHP-Placerville warned drivers Monday afternoon to stay in if possible as they experienced a high level of traffic collisions and calls for service due to the snow.
Up-to-date chain control requirements can be found on the Caltrans website.
Caltrans has winter driving tips for motorists when it comes to chain controls and installation.
You must stop and put on chains when highway signs indicate chains are required. You can be cited by the California Highway Patrol and fined if you don’t. You will usually have about a mile between “Chains Required” signs and the checkpoint to install your chains.
- Control areas can change rapidly from place to place because of changing weather and road conditions.
- The speed limit when chains are required is 25 or 30 miles an hour.
- When you put on chains, wait until you can pull completely off the roadway to the right. Do not stop in a traffic lane where you will endanger yourself and block traffic.
- Chain Installers: If you use the services of a chain installer, be sure to get a receipt and jot the installer’s badge number on it. Remember, chain installers are independent business people, not Caltrans employees. Having the badge number may help with any misunderstandings later. Chain installers are NOT allowed to sell or rent chains.
- When removing chains, drive beyond the signs reading “End of Chain Control” to a pull-off area where you can safely remove them.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) does not sell nor recommend specific brands of tire chains. It is best to check your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications for use of tire chains/traction devices.
There are three levels of chain requirements:
- Requirement 1 (R-1): Chains are required on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires1 on at least two drive wheels. Chains must be carried by vehicles using snow tires. All vehicles towing trailers must have chains on one drive axle. Trailers with brakes must have chains on at least one axle.
- Requirement 2 (R2): Chains or traction devices2 are required on all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.
NOTE: (Four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)
- Requirement 3 (R3): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.
For more information, visit the Caltrans website.