Among the tips for safe driving in harshest winter months, the General direction of traffic remember that it is important to follow a series of precautionary measures that avoid any mishap on the road. Check the good condition of the car mechanicsChecking that the lighting system is working properly, monitoring the levels of brake fluid, antifreeze or oil are some of the basics, but planning your own journey is also important in adverse circumstances. In this route plan it may be necessary to include some chains as part of basic equipment vehicle.
It is not an item that is mandatory to wear to drive, but in the event of adverse phenomena that put safe driving at risk, the authorities may require the use of chains to circulate. If you do not carry them, you will simply have to stop and you will not be able to continue driving forward.
If you live in a mountain area, where snowfalls are not exceptional, you can opt for the winter tires in the coldest months of the year, which guarantee a greater adherence in the face of ice sheets, rain or unexpected snowfall. If this is not the case, but you are traveling to a place where the snow may fall, carrying some chains just in case will make you enjoy a calmer ride.
Most of us drivers fervently wish never see each other in the tessitura of having to put chains on at a time of utter hostility, including freezing cold, snow, darkness, and our utter ingorance about how they should be placed.
First of all, you should know that there are two types: some very simple to install, because they are a cover that has a mesh or metal mesh that guarantees adherence; and those of a lifetime, the classic metal chain that hugs the entire wheel and provides stability to the vehicle. In addition, before proceeding with its placement, it is important to be clear about some basic premises:
- If you need to use the strings, you should find a proper place where to put them with total safety. Remember to park the vehicle in the ideal place, where you do not hinder the rest of the drivers. Indicate convenient with the triangles and the position lights, and remember that you must always do the maneuver with the reflective vest on.
- The chains must be placed in the drive wheels. They are generally the front ones, but, especially in 4×4 vehicles, they can be the rear ones or maybe all four.
- It’s a no-brainer, but the use of gloves it is essential. Chains will be much more difficult for you to put on with cold-numbed fingers.
- It is also important to know that not all strings are the same. If you are going to buy one, check that they are the suitable for tire dimensions that you normally use.
- With the chains on you cannot drive faster than 50 km / hour and, it is advisable not to exceed 30, always depending on the weather and the state of the road. As soon as you enter an area where the snow has disappeared, you must remove them so as not to damage the wheels, the asphalt and the chains themselves.
How to put them
Those that are made of cloth do not present much difficulty. They cover the wheel like a cover and the only precaution you should take into account is place them starting from the top. Adjust it little by little. The way to put it in the area under the wheel is by making the vehicle advance just a few inchessimply by releasing the parking brake for a few seconds.
The classic metallic ones are somewhat more complicated, but not as much as we think. The steps that should be followed are basically four:
- Take them out of their cover and spread them out, checking that they are not tangled. You will see that the chain is attached to a semi rigid ring. Open it and it will be like a bow. That bow is the piece you have to go behind the wheel where you are going to put them. Just slide it flush with the ground.
- From this starting position, grab both ends of the hoop, turn it up and close it. In doing so, it pulls forward the various lengths of chain that hang from it. They should be distributed over the tire.
- The chain is almost there, but now it needs to be tightened. To do this, distribute the different sections of links well and see joining them together. Most models are based on a simple hook system.
- The last step is place the tensioner. There are several types, although the most frequent are those of springs, which are hooked at various points to the chain already in place and pull it so that it has the correct tension; or those who are at one extreme, which you must pull to hook it on one of the links, thus achieving the same end, that is, the optimal tension and placement.
Once put on, it is important go about 100 meters and stop the vehicle to re-tension, because in that short distance it is easy for the chains to loosen. Once this security measure has been taken, you will be able to continue on your way always with due precautions.