Well, boys and girls, it’s time to put the chains back on the truck if you are travelling out west. Colorado’s chain law went into effect September 1 and will continue until May 31. Remember, nearly all of Colorado is chain up (or park it) when the signs are lit EXCEPT I-70 west of Denver, specifically between mm 133 (Dotsero) and mm 259 (Morrison). That is a MANDANTORY carry area.  Colorado requires four drive wheels to be chained.  Trailers have no requirement. Cables may be used if the cross member steel rollers are high strength with diameters of 0.415″ or greater.

There is only one other state with a mandantory carry requirement. The Washington chain law goes into effect November 1 and continues until April 1. Washington requires seven chains: four drives, one trailer, two spares. A chain diagram is on their website, www.wsdot.wa.gov/commercialvehicle/chain_req.htm .

How many chains should you carry? I tell everyone seven singles, since that is the most anyone requires. Remember, the rest of the states out west have ” chain up when signs are lit” laws and those numbers of required chains vary. Nearly all require four drives, either one complete axle or four outside. Some may require one trailer drag chain, some may require two. Some require one or two spares. You need to check if you run in an area with the chain signs lit. Or even better, get off the road and wait for it to be cleared. The best reference is generally that state’s DOT website.

Remember, fines for chain law violations are high. So are wrecker bills. If you run through Colorado on I-70, hang the chains on your truck now. Be safe.