Alternatives To Snow Chains Come Onto Market

Jan 18, 2012
Originally published on January 18, 2012 3:59 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The only way some drivers in snowy parts of Northwest could get around Wednesday was by putting on tire chains. If you've done that yourself, you know it can be inconvenient. It's hard on the pavement too. Alternatives to snow chains are now on the market.

One of those alternatives is called AutoSock.

"They call it like a shower cap that goes over your tires," says AutoSock representative Mike Groesch. He explains that Norwegians invented the elastic road-gripping fabric covers.

Groesch gets on his knees to show me how an alternate traction technology like this is the only option for some modern cars with limited clearance in the wheel wells.

"You can see it is a little tight fit," Groesch says. "But since it's just fabric, as long as I can get my fingers in there, I can get it on."

AutoSock isn't the only company trying to create "next generation" snow chains. Others have descriptive brand names such as SnoBootz and GoClaws.

But when the mountain pass report says "chains required," these alternatives don't necessarily pass legal muster. So the maker of AutoSock is at the Washington Legislature seeking to broaden the definition of approved traction devices.

On the Web:


British AutoSocks product review:

Another "next generation" snow chain option:

SnoBootz, SnoClaws maker FlexTrax:

House Bill 2355 - alternative traction devices:

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