How Fast Can You Drive with Snow Chains?

Naomi O'Colman

How Fast Can You Drive with Snow Chains

How Fast Can You Drive with Snow Chains

Driving in snowy conditions is dangerous, that’s why the snow chain was introduced to drivers. The question is how fast can you drive with snow chains?

Simply stated, don’t expect to drive at your normal speed when there’re snow chains sticked to the tires. It’s advisable to keep your speed less than 30mph.

What are snow chains?

Snow chains, or tire cables, are pieces of metal, approximately 13 inches long with a 1-inch wide U-shaped hook. They are used to attach to the grooves on the tires of vehicles in snowy conditions. The chains are hooked to one another and then wrapped around the tire.

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Snow chains were invented to help vehicles keep moving through snowy and icy conditions. They spread the weight of the vehicle and reduce the amount of friction between tires on snow covered surfaces. The chains also help you to get up hills.

How fast can you drive with snow chains?

Driving safely in snowy conditions requires slowing down, even when using snow chains. Each vehicle is unique and may require different speeds for safe driving with chains, depending on various factors including tire size and how large of a tire is available for use with a particular set of chains.

Some vehicles may be able to go faster even with snow chains, depending on tire size and how large of a tire is available for use with a particular chain. However, it’s recommended to keep the speed up to 30mph only for your safety. If you drive faster than this recommended speed, it’s easy for the car to slide out and lose control.

The reasons that you have to slow down with snow chains are:

  • Reducing the risk of skidding, spinning, and sliding
  • Preparing for unexpected conditions
  • Protecting delicate equipment if needed
  • Using appropriate tires for the right season!

When using snow chains, you must follow some basic guidelines:

  • If your vehicle is equipped with chains, make sure that they’re in good condition and ready to be used
  • Know that using snow chains can reduce tire life by as much as 50% on paved roads.
  • Chains also increase your stopping distance.
  • Don’t skid! The tires can slip and cause a crash.
  • Know that the chains are designed to protect you, so don’t try to drive over them in order to avoid skidding or for any other reason.
  • Keep your chains clear of puddles and other moisture sources.
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Safety tips for driving with snow chains

For your safety on icy roads, here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

#1 Attach snow chains to driven wheels

It’s better to put on 2 pairs of chains but in case you just got 1 pair, attach them to your driven wheels.
With 1 pair of chains, your car may experience an oversteer or understeer.
If you’re driving a 4-wheel car, you should put snow chains on all of them.

  • On a 4-wheel car, always put snow chains on the front tires in case you’re on slippery surfaces like snow.
  • On a 2-wheel car, apply the snow chains to the back wheels only. The reason is that you might be able to spin out when you’re driving with them on the front wheels and cause an accident.

#2 Use snow chains when needed only

If the roads are clear and you have snow chains on, this will damage your tires and your car. Don’t leave them on all the time.

#3 Check if the chains fit before driving

After installing snow chains, try to drive slowly to see if anything’s wrong.

#4 Avoid speeding and oversteer

Driving in snowy conditions with snow chains limits your speed to no more than 30mph.
You may want to go slower but the chains are designed to resist you driving fast (oversteer).
Don’t take chances. You need to control your car even when you’re wearing snow chains.
Snow chains are always a safety concern for any driver.

#5 Turn off traction control

If you’re driving a 4-wheel car, make sure that traction control is turned off.

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#6 Keep your tires properly inflated

It is a good idea to check the tire pressure every once in a while, especially before using snow chains.
If the tires are underinflated, you will be able to have more traction with the chains.

#7 Avoid dragging chains on your vehicle

Don’t drag your chains on your car and keep them clean. When they get dirty, they may get rusty and even damage your car.

#8 Don’t put chains that are too long for your vehicle

Don’t put in too long chains when you’re driving but if the chains are too short, you will have to use a lot of force to hook them up to the grooves.
They tend to get stuck on the tires and it’s hard to hook them up in cold weather.


#1 Can you drive normal speed with snow chains?

Well, driving faster than 30mph can be dangerous for both the driver and the car. If you drive even faster, you can lose control of the car and cause an accident.

#2 Do snow chains damage your tires?

You can damage your tires if you apply too much force to connect the chains to the tires.
When the chains are overused, they may get loose, which can lead to accidents if you don’t use them properly.

#3 Can snow chains fit on a small car?

If you’re driving a 2-wheel car with only 1 pair of snow chains, the smaller tires are able to lift up the vehicle in order to install them on the tire. However, if your wheels are very small, you need to put 2 pairs of snow chains for the best results.

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#4 Are snow chains safe for your tires?

It is not uncommon for a vehicle to throw a tire after driving with snow chains for an extended period of time. If a vehicle throws a tire, it’s very likely that the sidewall will be cut by the snow chain; this will lead to a flat tire.

#5 When should you put on snow chains?

Simply put, when it’s snowing-you should consider using snow chains. If the snow is very light and intermittent, you may not need them.

#6 Can all vehicles use snow chains?

Most passenger cars can be safely used with snow chains, although some larger SUVs may also require the use of snow chains. If you are planning on using another type of vehicle with a larger tire size than your car, contact the manufacturer for help about whether or not your vehicle can be used with chains.

Final Words

Snow chains have been around for a long time and they usually help if you find yourself in an emergency. They are the ultimate solution to keep your vehicle away from danger on icy roads.

Driving with snow chains is not easy and you can easily damage your car if you don’t know how to use them. How fast can you drive with snow chains? Well, never exceed 30mph for your safety.