Colorado’s rugged terrain and unpredictable winter weather pose unique challenges for commercial vehicle operators. As snow blankets the highways and mountain passes, it’s crucial to be prepared for the conditions. One essential tool in a winter driving toolkit is tire chains. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of tire chains for commercial vehicles in Colorado, delve into the specifics of the Colorado Chain Law, and provide tips for selecting and using tire chains effectively.

The Colorado Chain Law: What You Need to Know

Colorado’s Chain Law is a set of regulations aimed at ensuring safety on the roads during adverse weather conditions. The law mandates that commercial vehicles must use tire chains or alternative traction devices on specific stretches of roads when the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) declares a “chain law in effect.”

When the chain law is in effect, it means that chains or alternative traction devices are required for all commercial vehicles, including buses, regardless of the type of drive system (4WD, AWD, etc.). Failure to comply with the chain law can result in hefty fines and penalties, not to mention the heightened risk of accidents on treacherous roads.

Choosing the Right Tire Chains for Colorado

  1. Chain Type and Material:
    • Link Chains: These heavy-duty chains, made of interlocking metal links, provide superior traction on snowy and icy roads. They’re well-suited for Colorado’s mountainous terrain and high-altitude passes.
    • Cable Chains: Lightweight and easy to install, cable chains are ideal for less severe winter conditions. They offer reliable traction on snowy surfaces.
  2. Size and Fit:
    • Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual or consult a professional to ensure you select the correct chain size for your commercial vehicle’s tires.
    • It’s crucial that the chains fit snugly without any slack, and they should be compatible with the specific tire size and vehicle make.

Using Tire Chains Effectively in Colorado

  1. Pre-Installation Preparation:
    • Practice installing chains in a controlled environment before hitting the road. Familiarity with the process will save precious time when conditions are less forgiving.
    • Ensure all necessary tools (tensioners, gloves, etc.) are readily accessible in your commercial vehicle.
  2. Installation and Adjustments:
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions meticulously for proper installation. Pay special attention to achieving even tension across all chains.
    • Recheck and readjust the chains after driving a short distance to ensure they remain securely in place.
  3. Regular Inspections:
    • Conduct visual inspections of the chains at regular intervals to spot any signs of wear, damage, or bent links. Replace any compromised chains immediately.

Drive Safe This Winter Season

In the challenging winter conditions of Colorado, tire chains are a critical component of ensuring the safety and efficiency of commercial vehicles. Understanding and adhering to the Colorado Chain Law is not only a legal requirement but a crucial step in safeguarding lives on the road. By selecting the right tire chains and following proper installation techniques, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle whatever winter in Colorado throws your way. At Mountain Recovery we sell and install tire chains for commercial vehicles near Vail, Colorado.


Stay safe, stay compliant, and keep those wheels turning!