SPOKANE, Wash. -- Everyone cares about their safety and the safety of their family when they hit the road. When it comes to your tires, experts say it is becoming more and more common for drivers to pass on the studs and go with advanced, stud-less snow tires or all-season tires.
"The overall performance of the stud-less tire is absolutely the top of the line,” said Larry Kimpson, a service provider at Tire-Rama who has extensive experience in tire manufacturing. “In essence, studs were a really good idea from a generation past. I would say you did get that sense of security having that grip going up a hill, yeah you did have that sense of security on ice. However, with tires being specifically designed for ice it kind of negates the use of a stud.”
One of those design changes is the implementation of micro-silica. Rubber tires with micro-silica blended in allow for a decrease in rolling and increased grip. Manufacturers have found that these tires may perform better than tires with studs and significantly decrease the damage to roads from tires with studs.
Trooper Jeff Sevigney has been with the Washington State Patrol for almost two decades and said while troopers do not use studs on their tires, the biggest key to safe driving is knowing the conditions of the road and your car.
"The bottom line is make sure your tires are inflated properly, they're rated for mud and snow at least,” Sevigney said. “You have the option, of course, to run studded tires during the prescribed periods. Frankly, if you're going to be heading over any of the mountain passes you should definitely have a set of tire chains with you, just in case you're up there on one of those days where chains can potentially save your life."
During even brief periods of snowfall, the rate of accidents that the Washington State Patrol respond to increase significantly. Troopers said the key is knowing the conditions of the road and your car at all times. But if you have decided to invest in some new tires, studs are not the only option you have.