By on February 24, 2010

Maybe the title should be “What Grates My Ears”, because there is no automotive sound that more predictably induces a spike of cortisol than the clatter of studded tires on pavement. As they steadily chew up the roads in Maritime western Washington and Oregon, where it snows once every couple of years or so, it’s also the sound of idiocy, greed and government’s inability to act on the obvious. That so few are allowed to create so much public damage, is truly mind boggling, especially as it results in little or no actual benefit to them. The conditions under which spikes offer some possible benefit (sheet ice) exist about 1% of the time. Even then, the actual improvement under those conditions is only 10%! And contrary to the popular myth, spikes offer little or no benefit on snow, and are materially worse on wet pavement, which of course is what it is most of the time on the west coast. And it’s not just the millions in dollars ($17 million per year in Washington alone) in damage alone that’s the problem; spikes make the roads much more dangerous for everyone, including the spikers. (Read More…)

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