The California vehicle code section 605 defines tire traction devices as follows: " Tire Traction Devices are devices or mechanisms having a composition and design capable of improving vehicle traction, braking and cornering ability upon snow or ice-covered surfaces. Tire traction devices shall be constructed and assembled to provide sufficient structural integrity and to prevent accidental detachment from vehicles. Tire traction devices shall, at the time of manufacture or final assembly, bear a permanent impression indicating the name, initials or trademark of the assembling company or primary manufacturer, and the country in which the devices were manufactured or assembled in final form."
The Department of Transportation does not sell nor recommend specific brands of Tire Chains. It is best to check your vehicle manufacturers specifications for use of tire chains.
Types of Chain Controls
During the winter months motorists may encounter traction device controls in the mountain areas of California. When chain controls are established signs along side the road will be opened indicating the type of requirement. There are three requirements in California.
Requirement One (R1): Chains are required, snow tires are allowed.
Requirement Two (R2): Chains are required on all vehicles except four wheel drive vehicles
with snow tires on all four wheels.
(NOTE: Four wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas)
Requirement Three (R3): Chains are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.
FOR CURRENT UP TO THE MINUTE ROAD
CONDITIONS AND TIRE CHAIN REQUIREMENTS
Tires To Chain Up:
Automobiles and Light Trucks
Automobiles and light trucks must use chains
on both tires of the drive axle.
If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle and only intend to chain up two
tires, always check the owners manual for advice on which axle to chain
up. To alleviate confusion and retain as much of the normal handling
characteristics of your 4WD/AWD as possible, install traction devices on all
four tires. Under normal driving conditions, a vehicle has about the
same amount of traction at each wheel, creating a feeling of
"normal" control during braking, acceleration and cornering.
Under snow and ice conditions this balance is destroyed. If snow chains
are installed only on the front tires, the rear of the vehicle can react
braking and driving. If snow chains are only installed on the rear tires, the
steering ability of the vehicle is limited. To get this balance back,
the vehicle should be completely equipped with snow chains. Remember
that traction devices are sold in pairs. Therefore, if you want to cover
both axles (all four tire) on the vehicle, you must purchase two pairs.
RECOMMENDED TIRE CHAIN INSTALLATION: