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Studs Are Just Duds 

Well I did it! Took my friend Joe's advice and got a set of studded tires. I thought he should know being an ex-highway patrol how safe they would be. Could hardly wait till the snow would fly. Finally it snowed and out I went to try my new tires. The snow was fluffy and deep, about six inches, and sure enough those studs really held. I went right through that soft stuff like anything. Not needing to travel till a few days later when the snow was packed down, out I went, and sure enough those studs really held again. Although when I looked at the pattern in the snow on the street outside my house I could see that the studs were just digging out a divot and not really getting a grip at all. Oh well, those studs really work because I had no trouble on that surface.

Three days later the packed snow had turned to slush and I still had no trouble because those studs really gripped that stuff. Some time later there was an overnight freeze and I went out early the next morning to try my good old studs on black ice. It was very hard to find any ice because the highway department had sanded or put on de-icer everywhere. Finally I found a road where they hadn't been and slapped on my brakes. Holy smoke! The car slid along just like it was on dry pavement.

This got me to thinking about the reality of my earlier experiences with the winter roads. I looked closely at the tread of the tire the studs were in. They had the same kind of sipes and block pattern as the studless winter snow tires that I saw at the tire dealer. Then the realization. In soft snow, on packed snow, in slush, all of those times, it was the studless pattern that was saving me, not the studs. Then, I find out that a test done on ice by Tire Rack revealed that out of four tires (three winter studless and one studded) the studded tire came in last in stopping and accelerating. What the heck!? ThenConsumer Report comes out with the statement that they could find no advantage in studded tires over studless on ice! Next, I find on the Internet a report from the engineering department at U. of Alaska which shows studless snow tires are better than studdedin every weather category! And further, the studs wear out at the rate of 15 percent every thousand miles on dry pavement. Every day the pavement is dry around here! Why do I have studs?

Now what to do with those tires? I could sell them, but now I do not want to have someone buy a tire, which isn't up to its purported ability. Guess to the recycle they will go. Also, being a Republican, in the belief of cost containment, not using studs will prevent the road trenches that they create and will save the state the cost of road repair and that will be a good thing.


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