Every year, people over in Washington fret and whine about what studded tires do to the highways. It’s the old safety versus taxpayer dollars argument. Studs slowly chew up the road, but it’s a lot easier to *stay* on the road if you have studded tires on your car. People in rainy Seattle don’t need studs, and a lot more people live over there, so people in icy Spokane worry that studded tires will get regulated right off their cars.
Here in Idaho, we don’t have that debate. We’ve got big, nasty, road-shredding, metal studs on our tires, and we’re keeping them. No one worries about tearing up the roads and the cost to fix them. (I could expound on possible reasons why, but I won’t go there.) I just know that before I moved here, I’d never heard of studded tires. But after about a month of winter, I’d heard of them, almost fell off the road a few times, and headed right over to Les Schwab to get me some.
Of course, even with studded tires, sometimes the roads are still scary. It’s only the beginning of December, and I already felt my first little slip on the ice. The problem is that there are so many hills and curves around here. Icy winter driving requires slow methodical movements, not short jerky reactions. Unfortunately, sharp curves can still cause a problem, even when you drive like a 90-year-old grandmother like I do.
In the newspaper, they call methodically falling off the road slowly a "single-car, non-injury, slide-off accident." It’s not big news since generally nothing is hurt except the car. And your pocketbook, if you have to call someone to drag you out.
Fortunately, unlike the big city, people here in Sandpoint almost always stop to help when you fall off the road. We’ve pulled, pushed, and helped people out of many a snowy or icy situation. I guess it’s just what you do around here. Because the next person to slide off the side of the road just might be you.