Thursday, December 29, 2016

You think you’ve seen it all: Tire chain edition

It’s that time of year: tire chain season. ... Each state has its own laws pertaining to what is and is not acceptable regarding tire chains and when/where you can use them. It can be daunting keeping up with these laws, but some things are universally understood across state lines.

For example: Zip-ties are not an acceptable form of tire chains. Sounds dumb, right? Well, it happened:

The California Highway Patrol in Truckee found this car traveling through the snow with zip-ties. As the Jalopnik site pointed out, the zip-ties used on the car are not the standard zip-ties you see on wires, cables or at the hobby store. Rather, these are traction zip-ties actually used to get cars out of a situation where it is stuck. However, they are not designed to drive on.

For the past several years, Land Line has compiled all the state chain laws in a nice, easy-to-swallow package. This is what the California entry says:

Conventional tire chains and cable chains, as well as other less conventional devices, such as “Spikes-Spiders,” are permitted. Trucks with cable-type chains are legal, but may be restricted at times because of severe conditions – which can happen commonly in the higher elevations such as Donner Pass.
California is OK with automatic chaining systems. However, if you have automatic chains, you may still be required to add additional “traditional” chains to fully comply with the placement requirements.

Even if these special zip-ties were designed to be driven on over long distances at highway speeds, they still do not conform to California state law.

What crazy DIY “Don’t worry, I’m an engineer” vehicle remedies have you witnessed over the years?