41716119 - snow chains - indispensable winter accessory for vehiclesThe official start of winter is still a few weeks away, but much of the country has already gotten at least a dusting of snow. As a professional truck driver, one of your main responsibilities is being prepared for all situations.

This time of year, that means knowing how to quickly and safely apply and drive with tire chains. Depending on where your routes take you, it also means being familiar with all state and municipal regulations.

Practice makes perfect. In concept, snow chains are easy to install and hassle-free. Simply undo the links, carefully wrap the chains around the exterior of your tires, fasten the hooks, and voilà: you’re ready to go! Not so fast. Tire chain installation requires attention to detail, nimble fingers, and plenty of patience. In reality, you’re installing chains in freezing conditions. Practice installing your chains at the garage prior to hitting the road. Do it over and over again until you get it right. While this exercise might seem tedious or unnecessary, it will pay off.

Stock the right equipment. Is your rig equipped for driving in winter conditions? In addition to tire chains, make sure you have flares and warm, waterproof gloves, boots, and a reflective vest. If at any point you need to apply your chains on the side of the road, these items will ensure you’re both visible and warm.

Know the law. Certain states and municipalities require truck drivers to drive with chains at all times during certain parts of the year. Make sure you’re familiar with the laws that govern your trucking routes. Ignorance probably won’t be enough to talk your way out of a ticket.

With slick, icy roads and snowy conditions, safety is especially important this time of year. Take the extra time to equip yourself and your rig with the proper gear. And as a driver, continue to educate yourself while honing and refining your skills. Stay safe out there!