In snowy conditions, transportation authorities may require that snow chains or other traction aids be installed on vehicles, or at least supplied for them. This can apply to all vehicles, or only those without other traction aids, such as four-wheel drive or special tires. Local requirements may be enforced at checkpoints or by other type of inspection. Snow chains should be installed on one or more drive axles of the vehicle, with requirements varying for dual-tire or multi-driven-axle vehicles that range from ‘one pair of tires on a driven axle’ to ‘all tires on all driven axles’, possibly also one or both steering (front) wheels, requiring snow chains whenever required by signage or conditions.
Snow chains were invented in 1904 by Harry D. Weed in Canastota, New York. Weed received U.S. Patent Number 768495 for his “Grip-Tread for Pneumatic Tires” on August 23, 1904. Weed’s great-grandson, James Weed, said that Harry got the idea of creating chains for tires when he saw drivers wrap rope, or even vines, around their tires to increase traction on muddy or snowy roads, which were the norm at the turn of the 20th century. He sought to make a traction device that was more durable and would work with snow as well as mud.
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