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Location: Ministry Home > Road Safety > Road Safety Topics > Studded Tires

Studded Tires

Studded tires have not been permitted in Ontario since 1971.

In 1999 and in early 2000, the Ministry of Transportation conducted an extensive review of studded tire use around the world. MTO's findings supported a continued ban on studded tires because, despite advances in technology, the disadvantages of studded tires continue to outweigh their advantages.

Three main reasons why studded tires are banned in Ontario:

  • The limited potential benefits of studded tires under icy road conditions do not compensate for the significant adverse effects they create under other conditions.
  • Studded tires create considerable health and road safety problems.
  • Studded tire use is declining in many countries and banned in many jurisdictions outside Canada.

Why are the benefits of studded tires so limited?

  • Studded tires do not offer safety advantages in comparison to modern radial tires in road conditions which are either wet or dry for most of the time.
  • Studded tires are only superior to conventional tires on glare ice near freezing temperatures; these road conditions occur in Ontario less than 1% of the time.
  • Any safety advantage is lost by even a small increase in speed.
  • New lightweight studded tires cause only marginally less damage to the road surface than traditional studs and are less effective.

How do studded tires cause health and road safety problems?

  • Nuisance and health concerns.
    • Increased noise levels.
    • Create dust – impact on asthma and respiratory health.
  • Give drivers a dangerous false sense of security.
    • Studies have found that motorists with studded tires often drive faster under adverse conditions because of this overconfidence, which can create a greater accident potential.
  • Cause road damage which contributes to serious safety hazards in all conditions
    • Create ruts which fill with ice and water creating spray and hydroplaning.
    • New light studs polish pavements, which reduces traction and creates a more slippery driving surface.
    • Removes pavement markings.
  • Cost of extra road maintenance resulting from pavement damage caused by studded tire use.
    • In Oregon: Cost estimated at US$70 million a year based on 1994 study.
    • Washington State DOT: spends US $10.5 million a year.
    • In Ontario: cost estimated at CD$39 million a year.

What other jurisdictions ban studded tires?

  • Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and Japan.

Where is studded tire use declining?

  • Norway and Sweden.

Ontario will continue to consider new technologies and research regarding studded tires, as it becomes available. Review of studies done to date supports a continued ban on the use of studded tires.

Winter driving is a challenge for motorists due to snow and unpredictable weather. It’s important to prepare your vehicle mechanically. Check weather and road conditions before leaving. Allow yourself extra travel time. Carry an emergency travel kit. Adjust your driving to weather and road conditions. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you and stay a safe distance back from snowploughs. Remember the three key elements to driving safely in winter - stay alert, slow down and stay in control.


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