NASHVILLE. One of the more unusual items displayed here at the 2014 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) annual meeting is the “AutoSock,” which is the name of both the Norwegian company and product touted as an “alternative traction device” (ATD) in lieu of tire chains for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

During a press conference, Bernt Rosli, CEO of AutoSock Operations AS, said that the “AutoSock” is now approved for use in 45 U.S. states, including states such as Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, where chain requirements are in effect and others where formal approval is not required as long as the ATD does not cause damage to the road surface.

“AutoSock is a winter aid that maximizes friction on snow and ice-covered roads,” he explained. “Compared to traditional chains, it is much safer and easier for drivers to put on a vehicle, weighs less and provides comparable performance.”

Rosli noted that the AutoSock is a patented textile cover that uses high-performance fibers to maximize friction on snow and ice covered roads. Each truck tire “sock” – which weighs about 10 lbs. and typically takes 5 minutes to slip on – features a specially designed surface pattern that makes the total contact area exposed to dry friction as large as possible. He added that over two million pairs of “AutoSocks” are now in use worldwide.