Truck drivers working in certain parts of the country will be depending on their tire chains from now until spring. A good set of chains can mean the difference between making it over a snowy mountain and getting stuck half-way. Having said that, chains have to be deployed properly if they are to work properly.
If you are an experienced truck driver with decades on the road, deploying chains is probably no big deal for you. On the other hand, you may be a younger driver without much experience. If so, this post is for you. Keep reading to learn about three critical tire chain mistakes that truck drivers should work hard to avoid.
Twisting the Chains
It is extremely easy to allow chains to twist as they are being deployed. Moreover, it’s easy to not see the problem thanks to a lack of visual contrast between the chain and tire. Throw in a blinding snowstorm and it’s even harder to see twisted chains. Yet drivers still need to be diligent. Why?
Twisted chains are put under a greater amount of stress. It only takes one or two twists in a chain to cause a break as soon as the truck pulls away. Imagine getting just about to the top of a snowy mountain when one of your chains breaks. Instant disaster. It all could have been avoided by paying attention to twisted chains during deployment.
Putting Chains on Backward
Tire chains are designed with both smooth and rough ends. The rough ends are intended to face outward, thereby providing the traction necessary to keep wheels from spinning. If you put tire chains on backward, you’ll end up with the rough edges facing the tires. You can probably guess where this is going.
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Putting chains on backward causes two problems. First, it reduces the amount of traction the chains provide. Second, the rough edges can cut into the tires during travel. A driver is not at risk of blowing a tire as long as he still has sufficient tread to work with, but chains cutting into the tires will certainly reduce tire life.
Tightening Chains Unevenly
If tire chains are to work as intended, they need to be tightened across the entire surface with even tension. In other words, you do not want one section of the chain being looser than the rest. Any section of the loose chain can end up wound around the axle as you’re driving. That would be a disaster.
Another problem with unevenly tightened chains is the risk of them falling off. The loose portion can get caught on something, leading to the entire chain being pulled away as the truck moves forward.
Buy Your Own Chains
As a new driver with relatively little tire chain experience, there is one more thing you should be aware of above and beyond the three mistakes listed in this post. It is a tip offered to you compliments of Mytee Products, an Ohio company that supplies the trucking industry with a variety of equipment and supplies. Mytee recommends that you buy your own tire chains rather than relying on chain banks.
There are a small number of locales around the country that require the use of chains at certain times of the year and/or under certain weather conditions. Most of them offer chain banks to accommodate drivers who don’t carry their own.
However, keep in mind that time is money. You make nothing if your wheels aren’t turning. Do you really want to get to a chain bank and discover there are no chains available?