This winter holds many surprises, including snow and in some places a lot of snow. Those who are familiar with snow chains have advantages.
Even if recreational trips in snowy areas are not taking place this winter due to the corona restrictions, many drivers are still driving in snowy areas. So that there are no unpleasant surprises, it is helpful to deal with snow chains.
Snow chains are indispensable when winter tires alone are no longer a guarantee of progress in heavy snowfall or icy roads. This case can also occur in the lowlands with exceptionally high amounts of snow, but it is more likely to occur in the mountains. At the latest when the round traffic sign with the image of a tire with snow chains on a blue background appears on the way up into the mountains, drivers must put on such a traction aid immediately. If you don't have one on board or don't know where and how to put the chains on, you are not allowed to continue.
Important to know: If snow chains are explicitly prescribed by the authorities, starting aids such as snow socks or adhesive spray are not allowed, only fully-fledged snow chains. The most common types are rope, bracket and comfort chains and are available for both passenger cars and SUVs. They are available in different sizes. The heavier the vehicle, the more stable the links should be. Snow chains differ in price (from 20 to over 250 euros per pair) and in the ease of installation. In addition, some systems have to be readjusted by hand after installation, while others do this automatically.
The most important criterion when buying snow chains sounds banal, but it is not. They have to match the size of the tires. If the selected chain is too big, the individual links will flap around and damage the rim or body. If the chain turns out to be too small, it cannot be fitted at all. The correct dimension depends on the information printed on the tire wall, such as 205/60 R16. You should also check how much space there is between the tire and the wheel arch. Cable chains, for example, require a little space between these vehicle components during assembly. If there is not enough space, strap chains are the better choice.
A little practice with the snow chains in advance doesn't hurt. Depending on the selected chain model, other hand movements and tricks must be used, which are sometimes more or less fiddly or even easier. It is best to study the operating instructions for the chains carefully. Installation videos that the manufacturers show on their websites or that can be found on YouTube, for example, are also helpful. Regardless of the model, it is advisable to practice assembly and disassembly in advance. Anyone who is concerned with how it works in the warm garage or under the protected carport can try it out in peace. The advantage: the handles sit with clammy fingers when used in wintry conditions. It is also helpful to have gloves, a knee pad, reflective vest, hand brush and a flashlight ready to hand for cold outdoor use.
You shouldn't forget the maximum speed that applies to driving with snow chains: You can drive up to 50 km / h. By the way: If the road is no longer covered with snow and ice, i.e. if the asphalt surface is peeking out again, the chains have to be removed.