Automatic traction devices are present on the rear side of commercial vehicles, including emergency vehicles and buses. The primary purpose of these devices is to sling the chain segment under the wheels to offer extra traction.
Why Do Buses Have Chains Underneath? Buses have chains underneath to provide increased traction, beneficial for snowy weather, reduce tire skidding, make driving better on inclined roads, provide better acceleration, and enhance braking performance.
Drivers are capable of controlling these automatic traction devices. They press the button to deploy these devices when extra traction is needed while driving on different terrains.
Why are chains present underneath the buses?
You can often see chains behind fire trucks, school buses, and ambulances. These are known as automatic chains and Onspot or Insta-chain because of their brand name.
These chains provide more traction according to different road conditions. Roads become slippery in rainy weather because of the mixing of mud and water.
In addition, these also become slippery because of a mixture of oil and water. Tires cannot directly maintain traction with road surfaces because of a slippery layer.
You can deploy the automatic traction devices so these chains come under the rear side of the wheels to provide better traction. These help maintain the grip of tires on the road by increasing the friction between both surfaces.
It is also helpful to enhance the safety of the buses when you are moving on slippery roads. It reduces the risk of accidents that usually occurs because of sliding and loss of control over the steering wheel.
You can easily maneuver the sharp turning points because of the better traction of tires with road surfaces. It enhances the safety of the passenger and drivers by reducing the risk of sliding on the road.
Moreover, it is also helpful to ensure the safety of other cars on the roads because sliding increase the risk of collisions. It increases the stability of the steering wheel and allows the bus to move in a straight and on intended pathways.
Beneficial in snowy weather
They are present on the bottom side of buses and benefit in snowy weather. Many people plan their trips to snowy areas to enjoy their vacations with their friends and families.
It is challenging to maintain the traction of tires on the roads because of snow. These vehicles cannot maintain stability on the roads because of poor traction.
The chances of slipping tires also increase because of less friction. It is better to deploy the automatic retraction devices so they can allow the chains to come under the rear wheels.
These chains increase the friction on the road, and tires can maintain their grip.
Reduce tire skidding
Tire skidding is common on snowy and slippery road surfaces. They get enough power from the engine but do not move forward.
Wheels on these surfaces only spin because of their poor contact with road surfaces. These surfaces increase the chances of tire skidding because of the snow and water layer between the wheels and roads.
Automatic chains are helpful to decrease the tire skidding issue, and drivers can easily drive buses on snowy roads. My friend told me he booked a bus with his family for the trip, and it was equipped with these safety features.
He told me the driver turned on the safety feature and reduced the speed when moving on the snowy roads.
Driving on inclined roads
Driving on inclined and steep roads is challenging because large buses are difficult to control over these roads. The chances of their backward sliding increase because of poor grips of tires with the road surfaces and heavyweight.
The engine also needs more effort to move them in the forward direction. Tire chains are helpful when you are moving on inclined surfaces that are covered with snow and rainwater.
It allows the tires to maintain their grip on the road surface and move forward without sliding backward.
Acceleration on slippery road surfaces decreases because of poor traction. Wheels cannot maintain contact with the road, leading to poor forward momentum.
Wheels can easily lose traction and only spins without moving forward when accelerating on slippery surfaces.
Chains under the wheels enhance traction by improving their grip on the road. These are also helpful in minimizing the spinning of the wheel on slippery surfaces, contributing to improved acceleration.
It also enhances the buses’ stability when moving over snowy roads. I was traveling in areas where the roads were totally covered with snow during winter.
I saw bus drivers using automatic chains in these areas to comply with the local rules and regulations and to enhance stability for better acceleration.
They are also helpful in providing better braking performance by increasing the friction and traction of tires on the roads.
It decreases the stopping distance by improving the tire’s grip on the road. Buses equipped with automatic traction usually take less time to stop on snowy roads because chains dig under the snow to increase the friction of tires.
The stopping distance on slippery surfaces usually increases because of poor traction, and it can also lead to slipping and collision with other vehicles.
It also prevents the wheels from locking up, which generally happens on slippery surfaces and leads to uncontrollable movement on the road.
Beneficial for emergencies
Vehicles that are typically integrated for long tours are equipped with chains on the lower side to ensure their and passenger safety while moving on different surfaces.
It shows that these buses can easily bear different weather conditions in certain regions. You can continuously drive them in rainy and snowy weather because of the presence of the safety feature.
These benefit passengers because they do not have to wait on the roads, so they can move forward when the weather improves.
These buses help transport people in different weather and challenging conditions.
How fast can you drive your bus with an automatic chain?
It is not recommended to drive at high speed after engaging the automatic chains. Minimizing your speed for better stability and control over slippery road surfaces is better.
Drivers are recommended to drive up to 35mph after using the automatic traction devices. Moreover, it is also necessary to engage and disengage them during driving.
You can easily engage them when you are moving at a speed of 25mph. These can move in forward and reverse directions and increase braking capabilities up to more than 10%.
Where are automatic chains located on a bus?
Automatic chains are present on the bottom side and near the rear wheels. The location of this safety feature also varies according to the design and model of the buses.
These are designated to provide protection on slippery surfaces. You do not have to install and remove them like manual ones, which takes time and effort.
These are a set of chains that are stored under the compartment present inside the chassis. These are mounted inside the rear wheels near the axle.
I also saw these automatic traction devices on the school buses because sometimes they have to cross the snowy roads to drop off the children at school. Therefore, safe and stable driving conditions are necessary for the safety of children.
How do you lower the chains on a bus?
Automatic chains in the bus are controlled by a button in the driver’s cabin. These are near the driver seats, so they can easily access them when they come on different roads.
In addition, electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic systems are present in different vehicles to control them. The drivers press the buttons to activate the automatic traction devices.
These chains come outward and properly contact the rear tire’s tread to enhance their grip and friction on the road. However, engaging them while moving at a speed of 25mph is necessary.