Columns Dec 18, 2013 at 4:00 am

Studs Suck


Damn straight! You don't need studs until you need chains! You also don't need to creep along at 5mph, either - just give everyone a bit more space, and no herky-jerky steering or braking. Jesus, it's that fucking simple. Growing up in Colorado, it's incredible to see the level of driver ineptitude in this respect.
Who wants to switch out tires twice a year? Yeah, I snowboard all the time and I don't need them. In fact 90% of the time I don't need 4 wheel drive at the pass.
Studs suck. By the time you really need studs, you should just use chains or cables. Modern chains/cables are pretty easy to put on now anyway.
Can we just an an absurd tax to studded snow tires sold within Washington state, to internalize the cost that they have to the citizens of Washington state? If you want to change people's behavior, you're eventually going to have to appeal to their pocketbooks.
Yes, they super suck. Pricey, a pain in the ass to switch out and store, terrible for our infrastructure. But, for better of worse, I have a job that I can't not go to because there's a little snow; one of those silly life and death kind of jobbie jobs. I also get off of work after the busses stop running. So, it's either walk home 11 miles in the snow, or I get the damn studded tires (putting on and removing chains on the freeway at 3 AM is not an option, so don't suggest it). At least I drive a tiny city car, so hopefully I'm causing 2% less damage than the big vehicles.
I, too, feel that I am a better human being than most Seattle residents, on account of the climates in the various places I've lived over the course of my life. But, I like my studded tires. City of Boulder doesn't plow most of its streets, and we have hills. The studs are useful.
yeah get a fucking grip you stud-user pussies. If you have to get siped. Who the fuck can't put on a set of low profile chains the one 1000th of the times you drive when you might need them? If you were dogs you'd be fear biters.
I bought studless snow tires last year (I think they were either Michelin X-Ice or Yokohama Ice-guard tires.), and they were freaking amazing. I don't see why anyone would need studded tires anymore.
You don't need studs or chains you pussies. I drove to work in Madison, WI every day in my Honda Civic during winter a few years back when we beat the all-time snowfall record by several feet. Plus, I parked outside so I had to scrape that bitch off every morning. I never had any problems on my normal tires - not once! People in Seattle can't even drive in RAIN let alone snow. As a born Midwesterner it pisses me off to no end. To everyone in Seattle (especially if you drive a Subaru Outback): GO FASTER.
Studless snowtires are a much better investment. Not only are they going to be almost as good on snow and ice, they're better than all season in the cold wet weather.

LOL advice from a midwesterner who has never had to drive on snow + hills. Plus West Coast snow has a higher moisture content than the dry midwest.

That said, Chains > Studs
I think a lot of people confuse snow tires with studded snow tires. Regular snow tires will crackle on the pavement because they have a much softer compound. And since it's usually well above freezing around here, everyone's snow tires are crackling away because they have to perform in temperatures another 40-50 degrees cooler or more (rubber softens as it gets warmer, duh).
@12 - Contrary to popular belief, there are hills in the Midwest.

Also, citation needed on your claim that west cost snow is more moist. WTF.

The real reason Seattle drivers suck in the winter is you freak the fuck out and are way too passive. Plus the city is too cheap to invest in proper salt trucks and plows. I've lived here 3 years and the only problem I've had driving in bad weather were entirely due to other people being dumb asses.

Seattle drivers can't drive in the sun either. Ever notice how traffic sometimes grinds to a halt and you're sure there must be a massive crash ahead, but then it mysteriously clears up? Only in Seattle.
"If you only knew how much damage your precious studs cost us taxpayers, you probably would think twice about buying them."

No they wouldn't. Blizzaks get the job done too, but they're not as cheap.
So that's what that noise is. I guess I never stopped to consider why some SUVs have such noisy tires.
@14: yes, we have yet to invest in proper rust-inducing salt compounds for our once-every-5 years snowstorms.

you are right about the over-caution, though. like snowboarding, control comes with speed.

i was on an articulated bus last snowstorm and some idiot rang the bell on the way up a hill and the driver stopped, despite everyone screaming "no, no, no! stop at the top of the hill!". instant jacknife. i had to walk the last 1.5 miles.
There ought to be a "report abuse: too fucking stupid to live" button for comments like @12.
@18 No, he's pretty much right. I drove for a dozen years in Denver, and the snow consistency, on average, is different.

*Usually* when it snows here, the temperature is barely below freezing. Wet snow that's barely frozen instantly packs into a snot-slick hell-paste that's exceptionally nasty to drive on.

*Usually* when it snows in the interior of the country, the temperature is well below freezing. Drier, cold snow packs initially into a much less slippery layer, that eventually becomes icy after many vehicles drive over it. Until that happens, while it does take more careful technique than a dry road, the packed powder is relatively forgiving.
you don't need studs... unless you commute to Seattle from Snoqualmie Pass for work. 300 year-round residents may have some qualms.
@6 Don't whine about having to get to work. While it may be the case that studs can have some advantage in some rare conditions, in those very rare, and only occasionally seen,, conditions chains are appropriate. Outside of those rare conditions (like in Seattle, lazy ass) the use of them causes great damage, and they are no where nears as effective as a good set of studless.

@5 has it right. The studded tires should be taxed to the point where the public recovers the funds the stud users are cheaping out on to use for road repair.

Science. It works, Bitches:…
The tire manufacturers and their lobbyist butt buddies have for years fought against a tax on studded tires. Many states have banned them, but the liberal State of Wash. likes to repave their freeways every 3 or 4 years because of the damage studded tires do to our roadways. They are unsafe, their usefulness is very questionable and the public has been brainwashed into thinking they "need" them in the winter. Total B.S.
Agree completely! Where can I vote on this?

Oh, wait. I heard tonight on KUOW that state legislators got $900 contributions from Boeing just before voting the company $9 billion in tax breaks. If tire manufacturers give them latte coupons and a warm smile, we're f'ked.
@19 The snow in Denver is much drier than that in the Midwest. Lower elevation + an abundance of lakes = very wet snow. It's actually pretty similar to what we get here, especially the closer you get to the great lakes.
Seattle native and long time skier/snow driver, but I live in Michigan right now. The snow is dry here, and there are no real hills. @12 is right. Nobody has studs because we have plows here. Also, salt and sand. The slushfest just doesn't exist here like it does in Seattle. The Midwest is f'ing easy to drive in the snow. The Northwest is not.
I've always read that the wear and tear on roads was something like 99% the fault of large truck drivers. How do studs compare to those folks?
I can drive up Queen Anna in heavy snow in a rear wheel drive truck. Without the need for traction aiding devices. Figure your shit out people. Or stay off the road.
@27 While it's true that large trucks damage the pavement, it's the studs that create the depressed portion of the roadway that the vehicles track in. Large trucks break up the pavement causing cracks and potholes.
I grew up in Minnesota, where they banned them about the time I started driving. Was surprised to learn that it's still one of the few states that has a ban.

Haven't had a car since I moved back to the snow belt a few years ago. I bike a lot even in winter, though, and after hitting an icy patch last year and bruising my backside I invested in a set of metal-studded tires for my 29er. They're indispensable. If that makes me a pussy, I can live with it.
Buh-buh-buh-I live east of the mountains, and I sure as shit love my four-wheel and studs here. But you should try not being a "pussy" in Montreal, where "t'es pas game." They seem to follow no traffic rules at all, on solid ice or slick pack snow.
I'm willing to give a pass to the few people in the area who go back and forth between bare pavement and ice pretty much every day. Otherwise, get some suitable chains, a racing jack, some cold-weather work gloves, a decent LED flashlight, and a tarp. It's the racing jack that makes all the difference, and they're not that expensive (at least not at Costco or Harbor Freight). Seriously, with a racing jack, you can get your car jacked up with minimal exertion in under a minute -- and that includes figuring out where you're supposed to position it. Several years back, it took me maybe six minutes total to get chains on at Siskiyou Pass and less than that to get them off again, with zero experience and practice. If a lazy, cold-weather weenie like me can do it, so can you. (Also, if people around you are putting on chains using their crappy OEM emergency jacks and you're into schadenfreude, you're in for a real treat! Not that I would know personally, of course...)
@30 (Fred Casely): Bicycles are very different animals from cars. The damage inflected is lesser and the stability payoff is greater. You are hereby declared not a pussy.
#30 You ride a bike. You are exempt. It's the idiots that drive 4 wheel drive vehicles that live in Seattle and have gnarly studded tires that grind their way through the U.Village parking lot on their way to Starbucks. #27 The commercial vehicles you refer to pay on the average .14 cents per mile in highway use tax to use the roadways. What do the studded tire users pay? Zilch.
Oh, Jesus save us! I just read the weather update for possible SNOW in the lowlands! Park the S.U.V. Go to the grocery store and stock up on bread and milk, and thank God we bought those studded tires for the Hummer so we can grind our through the parking lots at the malls and finish our Christmas shopping! Just think if we had to WALK 2 blocks to the mall! Oh My God!!!!!!
@14, I don't know where you lived in the Midwest, but I moved from Kansas to Georgia, and Kansas is really flat! Missouri is almost as flat.
the hell with studs - when I do winter tires, I rock studless performance tires. If I can park that on a snow drift (for kicks), you don't need the damned studs.
All the Seattle Losers are screaming about studs.... Because they never leave their cow-town of a 'city'.
#38 Hope you break your leg stepping off a curb in Belltown.
#38 You are the loser.
Please by all means go tell tell this to people living in Spokane... where I got mean looks for driving with studs as people were telling me exactly what you are right now... just as school buses, ambulances, USPS and other parcel delivery vans and Law Enforcement vehicles were chomping the roads with CHAINS... yeah my studs are the ones doing the damage...

But as I've moved to this side of the mountains, I've gotten rid of those studs, no need here except maybe for 1 or two days a year so not really worth it.
it's kinda funny how everyone is a better driver than the next person.

kinda like no body knows how to drive but you. which sadly enough is a train of thought that isn't limited to Seattle folks.
For the few times I have stayed in Denver when it snowed, I was amazed at their ability to handle instant snow. Every one has a leaf blower. They use them to blow the DRY POWDERY BABY ASS DUST right off the street and side walk. At one point I actually saw an elderly lady sweeping it up with a broom and dust pan.
Leaf blowers wouldn't work for Seattle. It doesn't snow. It slushes. The refreeze overnight creates the most hazardous conditions.
As for the hills. Pretty much every intersection is leveled off in the CDB. As a bus driver, I don't care where the fucking stop is. I am only stopping where it is level. If you can't walk up or down, go home. You shouldn't be outside. If an articulated bus is moving in snow. Halle- fucking-lujah!
Metro does need to de-ice the bus zones. I have had to drop wheel patients off in the street. Their chairs couldn't handle the ice pathes on the sidewalk, but the streets were fine. They were de-iced.
People have to have dialysis. They have to get to their treatment center. Tootsie with the stiletto heels, upset I won't stop right at the bus stop on the hill needs to go home.
As someone who has lived and driven in both the Pacific NW and Alaska, I have to agree with post 26 (and 19 & 12) that temperature and city preparedness make a HUGE difference in how easily you can drive in the snow. So does experience.

If it's well below freezing and dry, and it snows regularly enough that your city has a good fleet of plows and gravel/salt/sand trucks, the roads are a lot less hazardous.

In a city like Seattle, with barely-frozen slush and no real infrastructure to deal with the snow (and, contrary to what 14 would have you believe, way steeper hills than any major city in the midwest), it's a lot more hazardous to drive. Also, if you're not experienced with ice and snow, do NOT try to drive as though you are. Better to err on the side of caution and inconvenience some hot-to-trot dipshit than to slide through a stop sign and smash your bumper.

Chains should be good enough. If it snows every year, it's worth it for some (non-studded) snow tires. With those, you can go at just about your normal speed on highways, but you still want to give yourself more room to brake, and you want to take turns more gradually (this means that, in stop & go downtown traffic, you're just gonna have to drive slower).

Self-described "hardened midwesterners" urging Seattlites to drive as if it's a balmy spring day are idiots. I get annoyed with other Alaskans for driving too slow on a snowy day, sure. But if I'm visiting Seattle and it snows, the last thing I want is a bunch of Seattlites trying to impress people like Keenan C by driving as if they're long-time residents of a flat, frozen Midwestern town.
Duluth is hillier than Seattle. And the snow in Minnesota can be sticky and wet and we get icy and slush, too. Lots of winter bicyclists have studded tires, but the cars get along just fine without them.

But the snow removal infrastructure is a lot better in Minnesota, so it's hard to compare.
I would like a stud for the New Year no matter what anyone says.
I would like a stud for the New Year no matter what anyone says.I'me here for you, Parisimo. I've got what you need, big, bold, and wet...
Uh, the dating site is two doors down.
grew up in buffalo ny and was stationed in maine for 6 years. 5 months of snow on the ground every year, never used chains or studded tires. been here for over 20 years and needed chains a half dozen times. never had studded tires. anybody with them on a 4x4 is an asswipe. throw some weight in the back like i do on my truck and go. use four wheel if you have to. all those ruts in the highways are contributed to by studded tires.
I live in Sweden in a place where there is snow on the ground from November through April. I manage just fine with non-studded winter tires and rear-wheel drive. Only pussies use studded snow tires.

By the way, besides being bad for the roads, studded snow tires are carcinogenic. All that toxin-soaked pavement that studs chew up becomes airborne particulate matter that lodges deep in the lungs. So to all you studded snow-tire users, I hope you are the first to get cancer.
#50 My mother was born in an area called Vaarmland, I forget the name of the town. I'll look it up and get back to you. I would like to back there and visit, I have cousins that still live in the house that she was born in. That would have been 1921.

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