PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon and Washington residents are now legally allowed to put studded tires on their vehicles in preparation for the winter season. 

In both states, drivers can use studded tires from Nov. 1 to March 31. 

Studded tires are like cleats for cars. The metal studs on the tires help provide better traction in icy or snowy conditions. 

“Research shows that studded tires are more effective than all-weather tires on icy roads, but are less effective in most other conditions because they may reduce traction between the road and the tire,” the Oregon Department of Transportation said. 

Although studded tires are effective and can make driving safer in the winter, ODOT encourages drivers to consider using other forms of traction tires because of the damage studded tires cause to pavement. 

ODOT’s most recent study found that studded tires cost Oregon more than $8.5 million per year because roadways required repaving earlier than they normally would. 

Studded tires grind away at asphalt and can create grooves in the sections of lanes that tires most frequently drive on. When it rains, water collects in the pavement ruts caused by studded tires and creates dangerous driving conditions. 

In cold weather, that water can freeze and cause roads to become extra slippery. 

Some alternatives to studded tires include using chains, other traction tires or fabric tire socks. 

ODOT said chains are more effective than studded tires and are becoming easier to install and use. Drivers should check their vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out what chains are recommended for their vehicle. 

Traction tires provide increased traction in winter conditions, but do not have metal studs on them. ODOT said they work about as well as studded tires on ice but work better than studded tires or regular tires in most other winter conditions. Traction tires cause no more damage to road surfaces than regular tires. 

Snow socks are like fabric alternatives to chains. They’re a good option for vehicles that cannot be fitted with tire chains. Snow socks slip over tires and provide temporary traction to get out of a snowy spot. They are only intended for short stretches of road in wintry conditions. 

ODOT reminds people driving in snowy conditions to allow extra travel time, check conditions on TripCheck.com before traveling, turn off cruise control, allow extra stopping distance, turn on headlines to increase visibility, brake gently to avoid skidding or sliding, carry chains and know how to use them, and be prepared with an emergency kit. 

Similar advice applies to driving in icy conditions. ODOT said to allow about three times as much space between vehicles and to watch for signs of ice on a vehicle before getting in a car. This could be a sign there’s ice on the road. 

If, while driving in icy conditions, your car feels like it’s floating, ODOT said to gradually slow down and not slam on your brakes or you may skid out of control. 

ODOT said to not drive through snow drifts. They may cause your vehicle to lose traction. 

Whenever signs say “chains required,” drivers must put chains or other approved devices on their vehicles.