(KTXL) — With a winter storm expected across the Sierra Nevada mountain range Thursday and potentially into the weekend, many drivers in the area will have to put chain controls on their vehicles.

According to Caltrans, when drivers need chain controls they will be reminded through signs along roadways warning of an upcoming chain control area. Usually, drivers have up to a mile between the signs and a checkpoint where chains can be installed. Those who ignore the chain control requirement can be fined.

Caltrans said that areas, where chain controls can be put on, can rapidly change due to changing weather and road conditions. When chains are installed, Caltrans reminds drivers to not stop in the middle of the road and block traffic.

When chains are required the speed limit is 25 or 30 miles per hour, according to Caltrans.

Caltrans said that in California there are three levels of chain requirements:

  • Requirement 1 states that “chains are required on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on at least two drive wheels.”
  • Requirement 2 states that “chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.”
  • Requirement 3 states that chains are required on all vehicles.

According to Caltrans, requirements 1 and 2 are the most common chain control requirements. Often times highways will be closed down before requirement 3 is placed in effect.