I’ve been harping on this myth ever since studless snow tires emerged on the market. Here are the reasons I believe studless tires are safer than studded tires, and are more economical as well:
- The feeling of safety from studded tires is more psychological than anything else, probably due to the aggressive sound of the studs destroying pavement. At Tire Information World studies are cited that studded tires have an advantage only in a narrow range of circumstances, which most drivers would rarely ever encounter. Studless tire are equal to or better in most normal winter conditions.
- Studed tires grind troughs in the road which are extremely hazardous, wet or dry. Perhaps, as a result, they create more hazard than they prevent. I could find no studies about the cost history of this hazard.
- Consequently, tons of asphalt dust are spewed into the air, into our lungs and onto our agricultural crops. It costs billions for states and municipalities to replace this material. Who know the dollar value of the health effects.
- Tire Info. World states that studless tires cost 50% more but that has not been my experience locally. They are actually cheaper. Regardless, studded tires should be taxed sufficiently to repair all the damage they cause, in which case they would cost even more. It is unfair for the rest of us to subsidize this damage.
- Studless tires accelerate & stop better than studded tires.
- Studless tires have better traction on wet and dry pavement when temperatures are above freezing. This is important because it is very common for people to keep their studs on clear through April, even though temperatures are above freezing most of the time.
- As the studs wear down, the effectiveness of studded tires (already inferior or just equal to studless tires) diminishes.
Although it is merely anecdotal, my personal experience bears out all of the above. I had a 4×4 rig with traditional studded tires on it & although it did better than with ordinary tires it still did poorly on black ice. Our Subaru Forester, armed with Blizzaks, cruised up the road to Timberline lodge on solid unsanded black ice as if it were dry pavement. I had at the very least expected to need some inclement weather driving skills. But I didn’t. It was pleasantly boring instead. You’ve all seen gouges in icy roads from spinning studded tires. Those Blizzaks stuck to ice like glue.