Our Northwest

Studs legal, but consider traction options

Friday, November 1, 2013by  Jon Osterberg

Studded tires became legal Nov. 1 for Washington and Oregon drivers.
   The question is, are studs truly necessary, and are they your best choice?
   State lawmakers have proposed bills in recent years to regulate studs, whether it’s banning them altogether or charging drivers a fee for using them. Critics say studs grind down pavement and that better, less-harmful (and less costly) options exist.
   The Nov. 2011 PEMCO Poll asked Northwest drivers to gauge their concern about roads being damaged by studs. One-third said it’s “a big problem,” while another 37% called it a “modest problem.” Only 4% said it’s “not a problem at all.”
   The same poll asked drivers if they install studded tires in the winter, and the vast majority – 68% – said “never”; 18% said either “always” or “usually.”
   The Oregonian recently asked its readers if they’ll use studded tires this winter. As of Oct. 31, 64% answered “No. All-weather tires work for me,” while 25% said “Yes. I swear by them.”
   Read Joseph Rose’s Oregonian article, which also lists five alternatives for gaining traction on freezing roads this winter: chains, tire socks, Spikes Spiders, Finnish tires, and Michelin winter tires.

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