While it may seem strange to talk about having chains for your tires in the summer months, the reality is that we never quite know what kind of weather we will have in Montana. This is especially true for those who live or regularly travel through Montana’s mountains. Just last month, residents in parts of Idaho and Montana were wondering whether or not it was June or January when their communities were transformed into a snowy wonderland. Strange weather across the Rocky Mountains is not unusual, so here we want to discuss whether or not you should carry chains for your tires all year round.

Are Snow Chains Required in Montana?

First, we want to understand whether or not snow chains are actually required in Montana. In general, the only group of drivers that need to be aware of mandatory snow chain requirements are commercial truck drivers. Chains are permissible in Montana from October 1 through May 31. However, they are not mandatory unless the state Department of Transportation makes a determination and posts notices about the requirement. In this case, it will be required on one set of drive axles.

Snow chains are not required for traditional passenger vehicles in Montana. However, for those that live in mountainous regions or other areas where heavy snow is a problem, snow chains can be incredibly beneficial.

Should You Keep Snow Chains in Your Vehicle During the Summer?

Heavy snows that result in roadway conditions that become unpassable are relatively rare during the summer months. When this does occur, you can be sure that there will be plenty of discussion about roadway conditions on the news.

It may not be necessary to keep snow chains in your car all year round in Montana. Once we have made it out of the winter and heavy snow months, you will probably be okay putting the snow chains in the garage. However, if the weather forecast indicates that there will be heavy snow in your area, and you know you will have to drive at the same time as the snowstorm, it can only be beneficial to bring chains in the event that a region experiences an unseasonal snowstorm.

Before any road trip, remember to check the weather at the end destination along with any regions that you may be traveling through. If there are any cold weather patterns in the forecast remember to grab the chains before you embark on the journey, especially if you drive a FWD or RWD vehicle. Losing traction in the snow can quickly accelerate a cars  involvement in a car accident.

Snow Tires May Be Sufficient

Many drivers in Montana have snow tires on their vehicles. In most cases, these specialized heavy-duty tires are equipped to handle most snow and ice with minimal issues. Some drivers have two sets of tires – regular tires for the warm months and snow tires for the wintery months. However, drivers who do not wish to pay for an extra set of snow tires may find that chains they fit around their tires work just fine and offer similar traction.

Use Caution and Pay Attention

You are your most important ally when it comes to driving in the snow. By simply being aware of adverse weather conditions, you have an advantage when it comes to driving. You could make a choice not to drive through late-season snow and wait for the roadways to be cleared. If you do have your snow chains in the car and you need to put them on, try to do so before you start your journey (assuming it’s snowing from your departure point). If you determine that you need to put them on while you are already on your trip, pull off the roadway as far as possible to remain safe from oncoming traffic.