How Fast Can You Drive With Chains?

How Fast Can You Drive With Chains

You'll need to drive with chains because the road is bad, or you're driving through a snowstorm or a blizzard. In bad road conditions, you need chains for extra traction and control when driving through snowy or icy roads.

However, no matter the numerous benefits of driving with chains, you will damage your car's tires if you drive faster than usual. So, the big question remains: how fast can you drive with chains on?

The average speed limit you can drive on chains is 30 mph. However, aside from not driving faster than the required limit, there are a few precautions that you must take when driving on chains.

Read on to learn all you need to know about how fast you can drive with chains and tips to keep you safe while driving with snow chains.

How Fast Can You Drive With Chains?

The fastest you can drive with chains is 30 mph. You might be tempted to take your speed up to 35 mph, but we will advise that you drive within 25 to 30 mph.

There are a lot of factors surrounding the possibility of driving with chains and the required speed limit. This is because you will damage the chains and tires when attempting to drive beyond average speed.

In fact, in most situations, you cannot exceed the 30mph limit because the road conditions and the presence of snow chains won't allow you to drive so fast.

It's important to mention that the repercussions of driving with chains far exceed the dangers of driving beyond the required speed limit.

You must understand that driving with chains can attract great damage to your car, especially if you drive on the wrong terrain or fail to install the chains properly.

Snowchains also have a higher chance of affecting the fuel economy of your car. So, before you accept installing snow chains on your car, you must be aware of the dangers and apply precautions when necessary. Don't drive with a snow chain unless there's heavy snowfall.

Factors That Impact How Fast You Can Drive With Chains

There are a few factors that decide how fast you can go with snow chains on. It's true that we've explained to you that 30mph is the fastest you can drive with snow chains, but wouldn't you want to know why it is so?

Here are common factors that impact how fast you can drive with chains:

1. Weather Condition

The weather is a major factor determining how fast you can go with chains. This is because it influences the road's visibility and status, and these factors greatly impact your handling, traction, and steering control.

In some scenarios, the road might be filled with snow, but the weather is clear enough to allow you to drive freely. If the weather isn't that favorable, you can drive as slow as 25 mph to avoid accidents.

2. Status of the Road

Before you even decide to install chains on your tires, you must confirm the status of the road(s) you are about to drive through. If there isn't enough snow on the road and you can see the pavement, you should avoid driving on chains.

However, if the snow is still new and slippery, you should consider driving slowly to avoid hydroplaning.

3. Visibility

How clearly can you see the path ahead of you? Poor or low visibility poses as the cause of most of the frequent accidents on snow and weather rides. Over 38,700 vehicle crashes and over 10,000 lives are lost in fog-related and low-visibility accidents.

We strongly advise that if there's heavy snowfall and there are chances that you can't see the road clearly, please park your car and wait in a nearby shed till the weather is good enough for you to continue driving.

4. Driving Experience

How good are you at driving in the snow? Your driving experience in snow conditions will help determine how fast you can go. You should drive very slowly; if you're still a learner, your speed can increase as you gain experience.

5. Status of the Chain

How good are the chains that you are driving on? Snow chains have their lifespan, and you can't expect them to remain as good as they were when you first bought them.

The more you heavily use those chains, the more they will wear and tear. It's important that you confirm the structural integrity and durability of your snow chains before you hit the road.

Snow chains are meant to have a tight fit around your tires. If you notice a slack in their fitting, then you should replace them.

Can Chains Ruin Your Tires?

Yes. Chains can ruin your tires in ways that you can't imagine. However, this will only happen if the chains are not installed properly or if you use them to drive on pavement.

Snow chains are only meant to be used on roads covered with snow or ice. Using them for anything other than this will damage your tires and even mess up your rims. Your wheels aren't safe, too, as the chains will also scratch them.

Only use snow chains when the situation calls for it.

When Should You Use Snow Chains?

What exactly is the point of tire chains? There's so much buzz about using tire/snow chains, so much that you might get lost trying to figure out their importance in your daily driving. Well, here's a list of conditions when you should use snow chains.

  • When the road is covered with snow or ice(especially if the road is covered with more than 2 inches of snow or ice).
  • When you have to drive through frozen surfaces.

When Should You Not Use Snow Chains?

You don't always need snow chains. Snow Chains are only designed for temporary use. You must remove them immediately if the situation is clear.

Here are some of the situations when you should not use snow chains.

  • When you're driving passenger vehicles.
  • Some lightweight trucks do not require snow chains.
  • When the road is free of snow or ice.
  • When the law requires that you should not use snow chains.
  • When you are back to driving on bare pavement.

How Long Can You Drive With Chains?

You can drive with chains for as long as 100 miles. You can keep the chains on as long as you don't drive faster than 30mph.

In most scenarios, state laws will inform you about how long you are meant to drive on chains. Whichever case it may be, you can drive on chains if there are still snow patches on the road. However, ensure that you stop driving on them when the road is clear.

Safety Tips for Driving With Chains

  • Don't drive on pavement.
  • Choose the accurate chain size and style that fits your tires and wheel compartment.
  • Look out for legal regulations about driving with chains in your region.
  • Gain experience as you drive.
  • Don't drive too fast (not faster than 30mph).


The purpose of driving on chains is to improve traction and give you a chance to drive through the ice. However, you must not use it regularly. Only use snow chains when the situation calls for it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need chains on all 4 tires?

Yes, you need chains on all 4 tires for improved traction and balance, offering the best performance against slippery roads.

Do chains work on black ice?

Chains don't work well on black ice. While chains are designed to provide extra traction, they are ineffective on black ice. Chains provide traction by increasing the contact area with the ground, allowing you to break through the slippery surface of the ice. But this doesn't always work well with black ice. This is because black ice is always an extremely slick and hard surface of black ice.

Are chains bad for roads?

Yes. Chains are only bad for roads if there isn't any layer of snow on the road. Driving with chains will damage the road if it's bare pavement.