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You don’t necessarily have to be experienced in driving in snowy conditions or using chains. Learn about our facilities and tips.

Two areas for chaining/unchaining on the Autoroute Blanche A40

In winter, once off the motorway, chains may be necessary - even mandatory - to reach the resorts.

To facilitate your chaining operations, ATMB provides two specific areas:

- The chaining area is in Fayet, going towards Chamonix.

- In the other direction, the de-chaining area is in Passy-Mont-Blanc, going toward Chamonix-Geneva.  It was recently remodelled and expanded.

Chains: what you need to know

No matter what time of year, chains are not permitted on motorways and are allowed only on snowy roads.                                                                  

In the mountains, signs that say "mandatory special equipment in snowy weather" mean that their use is mandatory. A fine of €135 is imposed for not complying with this directive; the vehicle can be immobilized.  
                                                                   

Which chains should I choose?

There are three main types of chains: Y, crossed, and ladder chains. These three are the most effective and secure, especially for changing directions and braking.

Chains must be adapted to the size of your tyres. Before you go to buy, note the dimensions displayed on the side of the tyres to select the appropriate chains.Installation may vary depending on the type of chains selected.

What precautions should be taken ?

Putting on chains is quite simple, as long as you comply with some basic principles:

  • Practice at least once before leaving.
  • Do not drive with chains if the road is clear. Follow installation instructions: improper installation can cause damage to your vehicle.
  • Install the chains on the driving wheels of the vehicle (in most cases, it is the front wheels, but check in your vehicle’s manual), with the hand break secure.
  • The clinging side of the chain must be facing the ground.
  • If you have a manual gear-shift, drive a hundred meters, then stop and re-tighten the chains.

How do I drive with chains ?

Once chains are installed, do not exceed 50 km/h.

Give yourself a lot of space for breaking and turning.

Did you know ? 
Chains are prohibited in the Mont-Blanc Tunnel but in the Val d’Aoste (Italy), they are required for vehicles from October 15 to April 15.

Other devices

Winter tyres

In mountainous areas, winter tyres are essential. If you drive regularly in cold weather, it is recommended to equip your vehicle with snow tyres. But beware, on the portions of roads with “chains required” signs, if "snow tyres permitted" is not specified, you are still required to use chains.

Studded tyres

Studded tyres are permitted in France from the Saturday following November 11th until the last Sunday in March. They instruct to not exceed 90 km/h and to affix a "studded tyres" sticker on your vehicle. They are highly regulated.

Instead, look for "winter tyres", which can be used in all weather on all types of roadways and are not subject to special speed limits.

Tyre socks

Easy to use, they adapt to all tyres.

They can provide temporary assistance for driving in snow or ice, but aren’t adequate for heavy snowfall conditions.

Since December 2010, tyre socks can be used on roads where access is restricted by the "Chains Required” signs. But this applies only to socks whose packaging indicates that they are usable for these signs. Check the packaging before purchasing.