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Traction Devices - Chaining Tires

What are tire traction devices?

Tire traction devices are defined in the Washington Vehicle Code (VC) as “devices or mechanisms having a composition and design capable of improving vehicle traction, braking, and cornering ability upon snow or ice-covered surfaces,” and include conventional link-type tire chains and cable chains, as well as other less conventional devices such as “Spikes Spyder.” When the term “chains” is used here, it means any “tire traction device” unless it specifically states link-type chain.

What are Automatic Traction Devices (A.T.D.'s) and are they legal in Washington?

Automatic Traction Devices (A.T.D.'s) are used primarily on commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, and busses. ATD's are devices mounted under the vehicle that sling chain segments under the inside drive wheels. These devices can be deployed by the driver when the need for extra traction is required.

Are chains required on the inside “duals” on 2-axle vehicles (trucks, buses, RVs, etc.)?

Not usually, but under severe conditions, the Washington Department of Transportation may require chains on the inside duals if conditions warrant. (If conditions are this severe, it may be better to postpone the trip.)

Are “all-weather” or “all-terrain” tires the same as “snow” tires?

They may be. Snow tires have the designation “Mud & Snow” or an abbreviation such as “M-S,” “M+S,” or “M/S” marked on the tire sidewall. Tires without this designation are not considered snow tires. Snow tires must also have at least 6/32-inch (3/16”) of tread depth (about 1/2 of the original tread depth).

Are cable chains permitted?

Usually. They are permitted for passenger cars and light trucks under virtually all conditions. Cables are not as effective as link-type chain under severe conditions at higher elevations and steep grades for “big-rigs” and may not be permitted depending on local conditions as determined by the Washington Department of Transportation. Whenever chain controls are posted, heavy trucks are usually required to have link-type chain on at least the main drive axle.

Washington State Rest Area Links

Complete Washington Rest Area List

WA Interstate Highways

Interstate I-5 Rest Areas (14)

Interstate I-82 Rest Areas (3)

Interstate I-90 Rest Areas (10)

Washington State Highways

Washington State Route WA-7 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-8 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-12 Rest Areas (4)

Washington State Route WA-14 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-17 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-21 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-24 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-26 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-26 / US-395 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-28 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-401 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-504 Rest Area (1)

Washington State Route WA-906 Rest Area (1)

WA United States Highways

US State Route US-2 Rest Areas (3)

US State Route US-195 Rest Areas (1)

On your next roadtrip stop at a Washington Rest Area and enjoy a safe trip.

Interstate 5
Interstate I5 Rest Areas

Of the 57 Washington roadside rest areas Interstate I5 has a total of 15 rest areas. Covering the major North and South Washington corridor...

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Tire Traction Devices
Tire Traction Devices

What are tire traction devices? What are Automatic Traction Devices (A.T.D.'s) and are they legal in Washington? Are chains required on the inside “duals” on 2-axle vehicles (trucks, buses, RVs, etc.)?

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