Studded Tires

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007
By John A. Ardelli

You know what drives me crazy? Drivers who put studded tires on their cars in the winter then keep them on until the last... possible... second...

Nova Scotia's Studded Tires Regulations allow studded tires on motor vehicles only, "between the 15th day of October in any year and the 30th day of April in the next year following." Now, I can't see any reason why anyone would want to put studded tires on their car as early as October 15th. As crazy as Cape Breton weather is, I've never seen conditions that would justify studded tires that early, and most people do tend to wait until late November, early December.

The people I have an issue with are those who leave them on until April 30th, long after every trace of ice and snow is long gone from the roads. There are even a few who don't bother to take them off until several days after April 30th. Even now, a full nine days after the deadline, I still occasionally hear the telltale crunching of studs on the tires of the vehicle pulling up behind me at a red light...

Why does this bug me so much?

In the winter, studs don't harm the roads much. The pavement is cold. It's therefore hard and unyielding. Studs have little effect on it. In any event, the roads are covered with ice and/or snow half the time, anyway, so the studs rarely even make contact with the pavement.

However, once the air starts to warm up, two things happen. First, the ice and snow melt away, so the studs make full contact with the pavement all the time. The bigger problem, however, is that the rising temperatures also soften the asphalt. As the asphalt gets softer, studs start to dig in to the road. Over time, this creates a "pebbling" effect. The digging in of all those studs effectively "roughens" the surface of the pavement.

When Kings Road was first reconstructed about a year ago, it was a joy to ride on. It was like rolling over glass, it was so smooth. Now, I feel like I'm rolling over a thousand marbles. Particularly in the right lane, no matter where I ride in the lane, the vibration is constant, and it's brutal in the left and right thirds of the lane where the tires of cars roll most often.

I don't have anything against the use of studded tires when necessary. My problem is with those who are irresponsible with them. I mean, winter is over! Take them off for crying out loud! Heck, studded tires have more rolling resistance, anyway, so they're murder on fuel efficiency! At today's gas prices, why would any driver want to keep them on?

Besides, they're damaging the roads that we all have to share.

Come on. Let's get those studded tires off, OK?

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Snork! Somebody who uses italics as often as *I* do!!! It's *amazing!!*

Let's hear it for intact pavement...
What are you talking about? I never use italics! Where in the world would you get such a rediculous idea?!

If you ever find a post of mine that ever uses any italics, I swear I'll eat my lunch! :P

OK. In all seriousness, I use them because I find print is dead. It's hard to express emotion and tone of voice. Basically, I use italics for any word that, if I were speaking, I'd probably emphasize with tone. I don't do that so much in my formal writing, but in informal writing like blogging and E-mail, I do it fairly frequently (though, in E-mail, I tend to write emphasized words in ALL CAPS instead of using italics because I generally E-mail in plain ASCII text only).
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