One standard among all tire chain manufacturers is that the recommended maximum speed is 30 MPH. You will see this standard listed in pretty much every catalog – whether it be RUD, SCC, Peerless, Pewag, Leclede, etc.
My personal experience with driving with snow chains is that when you are driving 30 MPH, the chains or cables feel right. You have good control of your vehicle and there is a comforting belief that you will be safe. Nevertheless, it takes a lot of will power to not go faster. Who really wants to drive that slow? The times I drove 35 MPH, I felt okay. However, times I have gotten up to 40MPH, the drive of the vehicle has a different feeling and it does not feel so safe.
I am always amused when driving on highways during snow storms in the city where it seems there is always one person that wants to zoom through traffic only for you to pass them 5 minutes later as they are stuck in the center divider. Driving with snow chains is no different. Snow chains obviously greatly enhance your vehicles grip on the road; nevertheless, you are not immune to the hazards of nature so drive slow.
There is another problem with driving too fast – broken chains. Since selling chains in 2008 and having sold over 4,000 sets, I have received three reports of broken chains. While it is not easy to verify to the last detail the cause of the failures, I have discussed it with the manufacture and have received the following guidance.
1. Always make certain your chains fit snug to the tire. Chains that are too large and flop around are at risk of breaking.
2. Drive at or near the 30MPH speed limit when driving with chains.
In one of the three cases of a broken chain, I was able to verify from the driver that they were travelling consistently at speeds of 40 MPH to 45 MPH. With the other two cases, details are not verified.