Snow chains rare in Oklahoma

Most stores don't sell the cold weather accessory, and if they do, the chains are in limited supply.
BY JENNIFER PALMER Published: February 5, 2011

With more than a foot of snowfall this week, many Oklahomans have considered putting snow chains on their vehicle's tires.

But the cold weather accessory is in scarce supply.

AAA Oklahoma surveyed a dozen auto parts retailers in Oklahoma City on Wednesday and not one had them in stock.

One store, O'Reilly Auto Parts in Shawnee, stocks them but has nearly depleted its supply this week, said Mark Hays, store manager.

“(We) don't sell hardly any of them until it's time for an emergency,” he said.

Ten to 20 sets have been sold this week and people were still calling and asking for them Friday morning, Hays said.

Snow chains, which wrap completely around the tire, giving a vehicle more traction, are not very popular in Oklahoma because winter storms here typically produce ice, said AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai.

This year has been an exception.

The chains don't work on ice and people have a tendency to forget to take them off, Mai said.

Tire chains also can tear up roads that have been plowed or are free of snow, he said.

An alternative way to increase traction is add weight to the rear of a vehicle by placing heavy objects such as cinder blocks or bags of sand inside a car's trunk or truck bed, he added.

Some states, such as Colorado, actually require drivers to use tire chains in some areas during winter weather.

But in Oklahoma, they'd get limited use, Mai said.

“In two weeks, it will probably be 70 degrees and this will be the last thing on our minds,” he said.

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