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Old 09.12.2011, 10:32
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Are tire chains required in winter

Hi All,

can anyone tell me what the actual law is regarding tire chains in winter in ZH? I ask as I have seen the occasional Army/Police block stopping people to put on their chains before driving up a mountain. My car is AWD (with snow tires) and due to the design of the wheel wells and body it is not possible to fit chains to the tires. I'm looking to find out what the law is before I get into a situation where I'm forced to turnaround.

Thanks
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Old 09.12.2011, 10:36
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

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Hi All,

can anyone tell me what the actual law is regarding tire chains in winter in ZH? I ask as I have seen the occasional Army/Police block stopping people to put on their chains before driving up a mountain. My car is AWD (with snow tires) and due to the design of the wheel wells and body it is not possible to fit chains to the tires. I'm looking to find out what the law is before I get into a situation where I'm forced to turnaround.

Thanks
4 wheel drive cars are exempt in practice, not sure of the actual wording of the law, however the police let 4 x 4's through in both France & CH.
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Old 09.12.2011, 10:38
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

If you think that you are likely to encounter conditions requiring chains, then carry them, its pretty simple. Anywhere above 1000 meters could have more than a couple of feet of snow in the middle of winter, the more remote you are, the greater the chances that you'll need chains. The only place you'll get away without chains is on the freeways, although I've seen the A2 near Airolo pretty deep in snow before.

The single track roads in rural areas are the ones which rarely see snow plows, so if you're off the main streets, be prepared. The police can only give recommendations regarding chains. Certain mountain passes do occasionally have signs indicating that chains are mandatory, even for 4x4 vehicles.
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Old 09.12.2011, 10:41
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

I actually drove up to the Glacier at Laax when the lifts were closed due to bad weather, I had to do some filming. Even with deep snow chains were not required!
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Old 09.12.2011, 12:31
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

Hi Assassin, as I wrote above --I am only concerned with what the law is so I know what I can do in a particular situation. Per my owners manual the car is not to be fitted with chains, so I am not able to install them. I have seen that I may be able to install "spider type" chains, but these cost the same as a set of tires.
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Old 09.12.2011, 15:11
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

There is no specific legal obligation to put on chains. However, they may get you (and frequently do) for dangerous driving, not being in control of your vehicle or similar related offences. This is particularly probable if you're involved in an accident or even stopped, blocking the traffic.
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Old 09.12.2011, 15:20
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

It is very much left to the local police to decide. Usually during and after a fall of snow non-4-wheel dive cars will be directed by officers at the road side to mount chains before they can go up a pass road. It goes without saying that this is in addition to winter tyres.

However, I know of people in 4-wheel drives who were required to mount chains too.

As long as you are driving more than 24 hours after a snow fall, or on a pass that is not clearer, chain will not be necessary.

Be aware that chains are a temporary and very uncomfortable solution to difficult conditions. They should be removed as soon as it safe to do so.
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Old 09.12.2011, 15:24
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

According to TCS, when there is the obligation to have chains there is no exceptions for 4x4. I've seen some mountain passes where the road speciafically says that chains are mandatory.

http://www.tcs.ch/main/fr/home/siche...ml#ANCHOR_0047

Just to clarify, this is when the road is signposted as requiring chains.

Last edited by runningdeer; 09.12.2011 at 15:35. Reason: addition
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Old 09.12.2011, 15:28
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

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Hi Assassin, as I wrote above --I am only concerned with what the law is so I know what I can do in a particular situation. Per my owners manual the car is not to be fitted with chains, so I am not able to install them. I have seen that I may be able to install "spider type" chains, but these cost the same as a set of tires.

what car do you have?

i know my car has a similar comment but its because of alloy wheels.

Are you from UK as you mention snow tires?
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Old 09.12.2011, 15:59
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There is no specific legal obligation to put on chains. However, they may get you (and frequently do) for dangerous driving, not being in control of your vehicle or similar related offences. This is particularly probable if you're involved in an accident or even stopped, blocking the traffic.
Control with chains is very poor especially going down hill if it's icy, they only prevent you getting stuck in deep snow. FWIW I have been stuck twice with chains on a FWD the wheels just dig a hole
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Old 09.12.2011, 16:19
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

god I hate chains, specially cause once you reach the winter destination (holiday for a week) you need to take em of , put em on. Nothing worse than putting on chains. Nice an warm, then a moment later cold and dirty and mad cause the damned thing will not go on. ha winter Love it but hate it
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Old 09.12.2011, 16:33
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

I've never put chains on a vehicle even in the worst Nor'Easter. But then I've never driven on snowy Alpine ledges.

Meh. Think I'll stay in if it's snowing that bad.
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Old 09.12.2011, 16:46
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

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I've never put chains on a vehicle even in the worst Nor'Easter. But then I've never driven on snowy Alpine ledges.

Meh. Think I'll stay in if it's snowing that bad.
We nearly lost our car on a snowy Alpine ledge a couple of years ago. There wasn't really any snow.

One corner was in deep shadow and there was black ice on the road. We lost traction and stopped (we had tried to turn back earlier but were hoping to find a turning place as the road was narrow).

After getting out of the car, it started sliding on it's on towards the edge and only stopped an inch or so from it. There was a big drop.


I was totally in the wrong as there was a sign stating that snow chains were required which I took note of but ignored as there really wasn't any snow.

So, snow chains aren't just for snow but for ice, too.
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Old 09.12.2011, 17:48
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

I was in Vals 7 years ago. Snow was on the ground - but the winter tyres coped well. We started off out of the village (far end) up the hill - and had to stop for a car coming down.

And that was it - we couldn't drive away - and the car was sliding on the ice (with the brakes on) - towards the edge

It did stop - eventually - through steering movement and throttle. Before I reversed down the hill
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Old 09.12.2011, 17:59
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

Does anyone have any experience of what it's like to drive down hill with snow chains on the front wheels of a front-wheel drive car with winter tyres all round?

I'm just thinking of the possibility of the front wheels braking nicely but the rears causing the rear of the car to spin round (like the bit when the bus hangs over the edge in the Italian job).
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Old 09.12.2011, 18:01
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

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what car do you have?

i know my car has a similar comment but its because of alloy wheels.

Are you from UK as you mention snow tires?
I'm driving an Alfa 159 Q4. The issue is that there is not enough space between the tire and the fender to get the chains on --or to even to get your hand between the fender and the tire. If there were chains on there and the suspension compressed it could do damage to the car. The owners manual mentions for my wheels I can get "spider type", but these cost a few hundred per pair, so I'm just trying to gauge if the expense is necessary. If it was cheaper to buy them I would have no issue to buy them for the sake of safety, but it is a big expense (between 400-500 CHF) for something that I don't expect to use too often.

I have a lot of experience with driving in poor conditions in the mountains and I am aware of the limits of the car. I'm just worried that if I take a couple hour drive to go snowboarding and get caught in a storm that I face being forced to turn around due to a regulation. I guess since it is left up to the local police that I have to live with that risk.

I'm from the north east US.
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Old 09.12.2011, 18:03
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

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According to TCS, when there is the obligation to have chains there is no exceptions for 4x4. I've seen some mountain passes where the road speciafically says that chains are mandatory.

http://www.tcs.ch/main/fr/home/siche...ml#ANCHOR_0047

Just to clarify, this is when the road is signposted as requiring chains.
Thanks for the link --it is helpful.
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Old 09.12.2011, 18:05
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

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I'm driving an Alfa 159 Q4. The issue is that there is not enough space between the tire and the fender to get the chains on --or to even to get your hand between the fender and the tire. If there were chains on there and the suspension compressed it could do damage to the car. The owners manual mentions for my wheels I can get "spider type", but these cost a few hundred per pair, so I'm just trying to gauge if the expense is necessary. If it was cheaper to buy them I would have no issue to buy them for the sake of safety, but it is a big expense (between 400-500 CHF) for something that I don't expect to use too often.
I can tell you know that I would have given a lot more than 500CHF to sort myself out after my predicament four posts up.

And, if my car had gone over the edge and down the ravine, the bill from the Police for recovery and my stupidity, and the probability of total loss of car with no insurance payout would have been a lot more than 500CHF.

Last edited by Tom1234; 09.12.2011 at 18:22.
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Old 09.12.2011, 18:09
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

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Are you from UK as you mention snow tires?
I would guess not - coming from the UK you would say snow tyres.

Who am I kidding - coming from the UK you'd say "what are snow tyres?"
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Old 09.12.2011, 18:54
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Re: Are tire chains required in winter

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I'm driving an Alfa 159 Q4. The issue is that there is not enough space between the tire and the fender to get the chains on --or to even to get your hand between the fender and the tire. If there were chains on there and the suspension compressed it could do damage to the car. The owners manual mentions for my wheels I can get "spider type", but these cost a few hundred per pair, so I'm just trying to gauge if the expense is necessary. If it was cheaper to buy them I would have no issue to buy them for the sake of safety, but it is a big expense (between 400-500 CHF) for something that I don't expect to use too often.

I have a lot of experience with driving in poor conditions in the mountains and I am aware of the limits of the car. I'm just worried that if I take a couple hour drive to go snowboarding and get caught in a storm that I face being forced to turn around due to a regulation. I guess since it is left up to the local police that I have to live with that risk.

I'm from the north east US.
Hello, I'm from the upper Midwest and had never had to use tire chains till coming here. But I worked at a ski lift here for the last three years and had to put them on at least once a week to get up and down. Going up the alps between 5-6 in the morning and wishing the snow plows would start earlier. My worst trip down was on ice without chains, from then on chains went on for ice. Nothing worst than sliding faster and faster and no control but knowing there's a big curve and a drop off coming, ended up in a stone wall on the other sdie luckily. I did finally get the spider chains, they go on and off quickly and don't bother the ABS sensors that some chains can damage. Good Luck in the snow.
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