BEND, OR -- It's once again studded tire season, and again time for the Oregon Department of Transportation to issue warnings about the destruction studs cause. ODOT's Peter Murphy says once the damage is done, it's difficult and expensive to repair. He says they're often unnecessary. "Around here, what we like to think of is that 1% of the year is when a studded tire might help you. Because, we're out there plowing. or it's snowy - which you don't really need studded tires in." Murphy says, "The only time ... most of the time, it's the ice that's on the highway."
Despite the warnings, many Central Oregon drivers still choose traditional studded tires. Larry Miller from La Pine drives to Bend everyday, and has studded tires put on both of his vehicles each year. He says he's heard the warnings. "It's a calculated risk on my part. I don't want to damage the roads, but I want to be safe and I want my wife safe."
Miller is not alone. The manager of the Franklin Avenue Les Schwab store in Bend says studless snow tires have gained momentum in recent years, but the majority of winter sales are still traditional studded tires. With recent mild temperatures, this season has gotten off to a modest start. At the height of the season, they expect to install winter tires on 250 to 300 cars per day. That peak could hit in the next couple of weeks, unless snow arrives sooner.