Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - Flat in Fifth
Reader asked about studded tyres.

Answered by ST that these are illegal for road use in UK.

This definitely did not used to be the case, and quite frankly I'm not sure that the answer was correct.

If I am wrong and they are now illegal, when did the law change? Which bit of legislation changed it? Also why?

It's not as if thousands of people are running around wearing out the road surface prematurely. If the conditions are such that it's a worthwhile investment then you should be allowed to use them. They really do make a difference.

Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - PhilW
Not sure about the legal aspect but I would have thought that the cost involved would make them a poor choice for most people for the few days most of us have driving on hard packed snow/ice per year. Also a pain to keep changing them for ordinary tyres. Asked a friend in a rural part of Austria which has months of snow and he preferred chains because he could put them on when necessary. One problem he mentioned was that if you drove on tarmac with studs the tyres tended to "throw" the studs which was dangerous for other road users and very expensive! I'm sure they are ideal for Scandinavia but think chains would be better for UK -unless of course we have a "1963" winter (or you use the M11!) Not sure that road surface wear is a major factor?
Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - Dwight Van Driver
I'm with you Fif (as far as I can be after the Sunday roast, YP's and a bottle of Goats do Roam) can find nothing in the Con and Use other than:

27(1)(h) MV Con and Use Regs 86:
the tyre is not maintained in such condition as to be fit for use to which the vehicle is being put or has a defect which might in any way cause damage to the surface of the highway or persons on or in the vehicle or other persons using the road.

Likewise under the Highways Act.

Have noticed one or two mistakes in the ST Motoring which I consider a mere shadow of that contained in the Saturday DT.

DVD
Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - Flat in Fifth
hanks for the comments gents.

Bit of a rushed post last night posing the question; so if I can clarify and put my views into the pot.

The response from the Car clinic (extremely inferior version of HJ's column) quoted Goodyear as the authoritative information source. One cynical comment of mine is that one of Goodyear's super duper top spec winter tyres is quoted as being effective in low temperatures because the compounds are still soft below +7C!! Excuse me I don't call +7C cold, -12C is getting a shade chilly, -24C is cold!!

I'd agree that for most of UK studded tyres are a total overkill and not economically viable; however the STimes letter writer lives in Scotland and frequently drives up into the highlands for skiing and walking. Put into that context it's imaginable that type of use could make it worth having a second set of winter tyres. The question was; could they be studded or not?

I know from personal experience that some of the rest of the answer which referred to use of winter tyres in Scandvinavia was utter utter tripe. That led me to question the "it's illegal for road use in UK" statement.

The response in the ST was suggesting that in Scandinavia the preferred solution is to use unstudded Goodyear Ultragrips which "are constructed of rubber which remains softer at low temperatures" That comment is so far from the truth of the situation it is almost worth a complaint to the ST.

Having driven many 1000's of km on both unstudded and studded winter tyres I would need a back to back test under reasonably controlled conditions in order to know if unstudded winter tyres were significantly better than normal road tyres ie summer version.

As soon as you get studs then the difference is marked on packed snow & ice; to the extent that any vehicle without studs can be a hazard as you have to travel much slower than the prevailing flow of traffic, and of course stopping distances are multiples of what other drivers and pedestrians expect.

Modern designs of tyre and stud do retain the spikes at quite high speeds (130kph+ not uncommon and fun, even if highly illegal ;-), plus don't wear out so fast on dry/wet tarmac when the snow has gone. The roads do suffer, though not as much as with the older designs.

Yes I'd agree that the ST driving section is a shadow of the Saturday DTelegraph supplement, though even that used to be better. More articles from the likes of Andrew English please. ST takes two pages for Jezza to wax lyrically, albeit funnily, on some off topic subject in order to give a couple of paras on the vehicle he is actually testing.

FiF
Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - CMark {P}
Hi FiF,
I realise this does not answer your question that much but I saw a Toyota MR2 on studded tyres at one of the ski-resorts in Scotland in the late eighties.

I was having difficulty push-starting my Spitfire in the snow and ice covered car park and these guys came over to help [1]. They lived locally and used studded tyres for several months in the winter. I do not recall any mention of them being illegal.

He showed us just how good the tyres were in an empty section of the huge car park. Whilst everybody else's tyres were scrabbling for grip, his car accelerated pretty fast producing an impressive spray of crushed ice from the rear wheels. Braking and cornering was equally good considering it was quite a task to remain standing upright on one's two feet.

[1] eventually, we just pushed the Spitfire onto the main road, I sat in it and free-wheeled a mile or so downhill till there was some tarmac showing through and then it started.
Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - Pugugly {P}
I concur. According to the ST it would appear to render wheelchains unlawful. Have a look at www.snowchains.co.uk

PS Are the roaming Goats any relation to the Sheep that safely grazed I used to sing about in school ?
Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - matt35 {P}
FiF,
Couldn't comment on current UK law re studs, but drove a Chevy Impala for 6 months in Syracuse New York in 1976/77 in the worst winter in their recorded history - 162" of snow.
I recall that everyone used snow tires and that, if you got stuck without snow tires, it was $100-00 spot fine.

The only problem I had was in the first week - everyone in the office went out 10 minutes before the bell and came back wearing snow boots - which I did not have.
First and second nights, the Impala was going sideways in the car park, third and fourth nights I waited until everyone had gone home to avoid a bump.

Fifth night, a colleague told me they were also running the engines to let the automatic chokes settle down - I had never heard of automatic chokes in 1976 - at minus 25 degrees the Chevy was taking off a bit sharpish.

Never needed studs - I think they are more for ice than snow?
Matt35

Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - BobbyG
Excuse the ignorance on studded tyres but surely these must be awful to drive on tarmac? What grip do they give you doing an emergency stop?
Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - Flat in Fifth
Excuse the ignorance on studded tyres but surely these must be
awful to drive on tarmac? What grip do they give you
doing an emergency stop?


No excuse needed BobbyG.

Don't think of the ice-racer type spikes where there are more spikes than rubber. Mostly there are about 100-150 spikes per tyre, they protrude only a small amount, and in the modern designs the rubber compounds used still give good grip on dry and wet tarmac, ie its a world away from the old style where tarmac grip was significantly reduced particularly in the wet.

Of course there is an increase in road noise and fuel consumption and a small decrease in grip on pure tarmac but personally wouldn't describe it as awful, different yes. No more different than the adjustments you have to make in switching from a modern sports car to a modern saloon car, ie clearly one has greater capabilities than the other, but both have far greater performance than most people use.

Hope that explanation clarifies.

FiF


Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - Honestjohn
27(1)(h) MV Con and Use Regs 86:
the tyre is not maintained in such condition as to be fit for use to which the vehicle is being put or has a defect which might in any way cause damage to the surface of the highway or persons on or in the vehicle or other persons using the road.

Even in NE England (Northumberland, where else?) quite a lot of people keep a spare pair of wheels with studded tyres for the drive wheels of two wheel drive cars. They are legal on packed snow which can last for days, sometimes weeks. But make a lot of noise in the towns where the roads are heavily salted. Be pointless and useless in the South East, except on one memorable evening on the M11 and M25 at the end of January.

HJ
Letter in Sunday Times re studs in tyres - Dwight Van Driver
Bit off tack but similar:

M.V(Con and Use) Regs were in the old days called the MC(Con and Use) and Track Laying Regs.

The later part covered the like of Fordson Tractors with spade lugged wheels, County Crawler Tractors etc with tracks like a tank and of course HM Forces tracked vehicles.

To use these vehicles on the road the tracks had to have cleats to prevent damage to the road surface.

Jeepers am I getting old (and sad).

DVD
 

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