Lake Tahoe winter weather can be a little unpredictable so if you are considering driving in winter conditions then investing in snow chains for your tires is definitely a wise investment. Getting caught on the roadside in a snow storm without any snow chains is really something you want to try and avoid. Even if you own a powerful 4 wheel drive car snow chains are still definitely worth consideration, particularly for extreme icy road conditions.

Tire Chain Requirements

Level 1 Chain Requirements: Traction devices, chains and or snow tires are a requirement to be placed on the drive axle of every vehicle types, with the exception of 4 wheel drive vehicles.

Level 2 Chain Requirements:  Traction devices or chains are a requirement for all vehicles with the exception of 4 wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles. 4 wheel drive vehicles must have snow tread tires fitted.

(Cautionary Notice: All-wheel and 4 wheel drive vehicles are required to carry some form of traction device in chain control areas.)

Level 3 Chain requirements: Traction devices or chains a requirement on all vehicles with no exceptions.

Chain Controls

You are required to stop and put on traction devices or chains when a highway sign indicates that chains are required. Not doing so can cause you to be cited by highway patrol and you may get pulled over. As a rule of thumb you normally have the distance of about a mile from the chain/traction required sign and the actual checkpoint where you need to install your chains.

Due to the constant changing weather conditions in Lake Tahoe chain controls can often change rapidly from road to road. Whenever traction devices are required the speed limit is 25-30 MPH. When stopping to install chains you should make sure you can pull over completely off the roadway and never stop directly in the path of a traffic lane, doing so not only endangers yourself but you can also block oncoming traffic.

Whenever you use an independent chain installer for your chain or traction devices you should make sure you always get a receipt. Making a note of the badge number of the person who installed your chains can also be of use should there be any misunderstandings down the line.  Remember these independent installers are NOT allowed by law to rent or sell chains. When it comes to removing your traction devices you should make sure that you have passed the sign informing you that you have left the chain controlled area and pullover safely to remove them.

For more recent and up to date information in Western Nevada and California (Reno/Lake Tahoe area) you can call the California Highway Information Network on (800) 427 7263. This network is constantly updated and for your safety and convenience is voice activated.