TIRE SAFETY

Serious winter conditions call for studded tires

If you’ve read our Winter Driving article, you know that winter conditions call for winter tires. However, you still might want to consider getting studded tires if your winter seasons are especially tough. Some off-road tires also are studdable — like the Evolution® M/T™ — adding even more traction for tough driving conditions. If you experience the driving conditions discussed in this article, studded tires are for you.

Tires that bite into ice

Studded tires perform the best on icy roads. Period. Why is stopping power better on studded winter tires? It’s all in the name. These tires allow for studs to be installed across the tread face, giving drivers better side-to-side and front-to-back grip. This kind of traction is critical on ice.

Where you’ll most likely find ice

Mountain passes are icier and often hide black ice. Shadows linger here until later in the day, making it more difficult for the sun to melt the icy patches.

Foggy areas like coastal regions or areas near rivers might have a lot of ice too. Fog condenses into water, which can freeze on the road.

Intersections can also be pretty icy. As snow melts from daily use, it can freeze overnight, causing slippery conditions.

Bridges are often icy, cooling down to freezing air temperatures more quickly than roads.

Watch out for hard-packed snow

Hard-packed is one of the most dangerous forms of snow because of its density. Studded tires have metal pins protruding from the tread that dig into hard-packed snow. This kind of traction can help maintaining a grip on the road.

Unpredictable winter weather

Winter weather can keep you guessing on the road. One minute, the skies will be clear; the next minute, it’s a blizzard. And depending on where you live, you never quite know when winter will start or stop. If you live in an area with unpredictable weather, studded tires are a good idea. Check your local state laws regarding studded tire usage.

Are studded tires comfortable on the road?

For a long time, the biggest complaint about studded winter tires is that they're noisy. However, studded tire innovation has come a long way, and tire manufacturers have figured out how to reduce road noise. You will still hear the road while driving on studded tires. It's inevitable as they dig into and power through ice and snow.

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