Archive for category tire chaining

Test your tire chaining knowledge

By Jena Williams

Click photo to access tire chaining challenge.

Click photo to access tire chaining challenge.

You’ve got chains, but do you know how to use them? Prove it to yourself by testing your knowledge with this fun simulation. Compare the novice and professional drivers as they chain up their tires. See if you can find all 10 differences.

If you’ve been driving for a while, share your advice in the comments below to help newer drivers prepare for winter.

Now is also the time to inspect your chains before you find yourself on a snowy mountain pass. Here are tire chaining tips to get you started.

Tire chaining simulation:

Tips for hanging iron:

Tips for inspecting your chains:

Top 5

By Jena Williams


Our hope in developing the TIRES blog is to open up conversation with you, our readers, on topics of interest to the trucking community, especially as it relates to health and safety.

We truly believe that by combining our efforts, knowledge and expertise we can make a difference in the industry to make it safer and to keep our valuable workers on the job as long as possible.

Across the nation, the labor pool is aging with the average age in trucking being over 50. Finding and keeping capable workers is necessary to stay in business. Keeping them safe, healthy and on the job is our mutual goal.

So I hope you’ll join me in the discussion this year. But first, let’s review the top 5 blog articles as accessed by our readers in 2013:

First place: Surprisingly, this one was originally published March 5, 2012, Tire Sock” – an alternative to chains?

Second place: Published December 1, 2011, Santa Claus is coming to town…

Third place: Published January 14, 2013, In Memoriam

Fourth place: Published March 4, 2013 What’s March Madness got to do with trucking?

And finally in fifth place: Published January 4, 2013 Here’s your opportunity to make an impact

What topics do you want to discuss in 2014? Please respond in the comments below.

Organized Chain Up?

By Jena Williams

It isn’t an oxymoron.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has developed an unprecedented plan to reduce congestion and improve safety around chain up areas on I-90’s Snoqualmie Pass.

If you are a frequent cross-state traveler, you have probably seen the lane construction and new signage along westbound I-90, three miles east of Snoqualmie Pass.

The plan is to increase communication and get rid of the confusion over when and where to stop to chain up.

In addition to labeling the chain-up zones, which can be hard to decipher with a layer of snow over everything, there will also be information about room available ahead to chain up so drivers won’t be stopping in the traffic lanes out of fear they’ll run out of space to chain up.

Be aware, stops will be limited to 30 minutes, so don’t plan to park and sleep it out. Prepare in advance with these chaining guides:

Take time to check your chains:

Tips for successful chaining:

Heading eastbound? Don’t despair! Eastbound traffic will see similar upgrades in upcoming years.

For more info from WA DOT:

Link to the Washington State Patrol’s MINIMUM CHAIN REQUIREMENTS for vehicles and combinations over 10,000 pounds GVWR:

Link to Washington State Commercial Vehicle Guide (page 1-2):

Prepare now

By Jena Williams

With the sunshine we’ve seen this week, it’s hard to imagine that winter will be here soon. However, now, while it’s dry, is the perfect time to get ready for it. Inspect your chains and double check your emergency supplies.

Use these safety publications from to get started:

Emergency supplies for truck drivers

A truck driver’s winter survival kit:

Tire Chaining

Are you the tire chain master? Test your skills with this interactive tire-chaining simulation:

As always, free safety training materials are available at

Who doesn’t love to use a “cheat sheet” on a test?

By Jena Williams

Open book, cheat sheet, one 3×5 note card, you can use your review sheet on this test…Weren’t those the words that brought music to your ears back in school? What if your instructor told you that you can borrow the test taken by someone last year to study with? You’d know what they got right and what they missed and what to study. How cool would that be???

Well here’s your opportunity to study off of someone else’s test; in fact it’s your opportunity to study off the tests of everyone who took it over the past five years. A new report from Washington State’s Department of Labor & Industries gives you the most commonly missed topics on inspections in the state’s most hazardous industries. You have the privilege of learning from their experience and protecting your workforce at the same time!

Where does trucking rank in the top 25 hazardous industries? General Freight Trucking (NAICS 4841) rates number two as Washington’s most hazardous industry. The summary report released in December 2012 examines occupational injury and illness data including safety and health violations cited by industry from 2006 through 2010.

You’re probably thinking, so what, we know trucking is a risky industry, what good is another report that tells us what we already know? Well, my hope, and the mission of TIRES, is to use data to target the most common and costly injuries. And maybe, since this report also explores the most common violations found by DOSH, you can use the information to make sure your company is in compliance before that inspector shows up.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather learn from others’ mistakes or trials than my own…Yeah, I know, not very considerate, but why should we both suffer needlessly??? Below are links to the report by industry sector. It might save you time, money and a potential injury to a valuable employee to quickly run through the Top 10 Violations for your sector to make sure your company is prepared.

Injury-wise, this report reaffirms earlier research by TIRES that injuries to muscles, tendons and joints (musculoskeletal disorders), falls, and struck by injuries are the most common and costly injuries to address in the trucking industry. This is why we are continuing to work with and support you to eliminate these injuries. TIRES has produced materials to address the tasks where the injuries are occurring. We want you to be safe and we’ll do whatever we can to support you to get there.

Check these links out:

Entering and exiting the cab or trailer:

Walking around the work zone:

Strapping down or tarping the load:

Loading including manual handling:

Washington State Top 25 Hazardous Industries report:

Did you miss it?

Chaining simulation

By Jena Williams

I’m referring to the cool new tire chaining simulation that TIRES just produced. It’s not too late to add some fun to your next safety training or to just check out your own hazard spotting skills. Check out the simulation at:

To get monthly trucking safety updates and to be the first to hear about our simulations as they are released, sign up for the TIRES E-news on:

And don’t worry, your email address is safe with us. We do not share with anyone.

Be safe this week! We appreciate you!

Comment below with your own tips for safety in winter weather.

More info on severe weather:

Trucker’s winter survival kit:

It’s time to check your chains

By Jena Williams

Fall is here and winter weather is on its way. Prepare by inspecting your chains for wear and damage. Lay each one out for inspection, and then practice chaining the tires. Make sure you have practiced chaining all the trucks you may drive. You do not want to learn the tricks or read the instructions while sitting on the side of a busy road during a winter storm.

Take a moment to review the Washington Department of Transportation’s Minimum Chaining Requirements:

This is also a good time to make sure your cab is stocked with essentials in case you are stuck for a few days. Consider non-perishable food like protein bars. Do you carry extra medication in your cab? How about warm clothes? Extra water?

Once upon a time, we had the phone numbers of our nearest and dearest committed to memory. Not too long ago, I locked my keys AND my cell phone in my car. Even though a good Samaritan was there to offer me her cell phone, I had trouble coming up with phone numbers to call. Good grief! I really can’t survive without that phone, my brain is in there.

Today is the perfect time to memorize the numbers of those closest to you. Also, write them down in a couple of places where you can find them if your phone is lost, stolen or simply locked in your vehicle.

Here are links to safety training materials for cold and icy weather:

A truck driver’s winter survival kit:

More severe weather training:

Is there anything else you do to prep yourself or your rig for the winter elements? Please share your ideas with us in the comments below.

Stay safe this winter!

“Tire Sock” – an alternative to chains?

Auto Sock

By Jena Williams

Washington’s State Legislature recently approved an alternative tire-traction device that might help keep drivers safe in winter driving conditions. According to this Q 13 Fox news story, the “tire sock,” is a fabric alternative to chains that slips easily onto tires to improve traction.

The state of Colorado approved tire socks for trucks several years ago, as shown in this Denver news story on YouTube, however,  the California State Highway Patrol does not allow their use in place of chains as traction devices. The Washington State Patrol still must test and approve tire socks before they are approved for public roadways.

Have you tried the tire sock? Does it work as well as chains? What do you see as the potential safety implications? TIRES would love to hear from you if you’ve had experience with tire socks.