JUNEAU, Alaska-Can Alaskans live without their studs? The state says ``yes,'' and plans to spend $250,000 to persuade Alaskans to stop using studded tires.
Studded tires are the most popular traction device used on Alaska's icy roads during the state's long winters. But state highway officials complain that the tiny metal spikes dig ruts that cost $5 million a year to fix.
Studded tires also can be dangerous at highway speeds on dry roads.
``Studs inhibit stopping,'' said Schuyler Stevens, chief state highway engineer. ``They act like ice skates on dry or wet pavement.''
The anti-stud campaign, slated to begin soon, is not expected to earn much support from the tire industry.
``As much ice as we get, I think we'll have an awful lot more accidents without studded tires,'' said Bob Swanson, area manager in Anchorage for the Grand Auto Supply chain.
The state plans to hire a public relations firm to educate Alaskans about the problems with studs. Advertisements will urge motorists to use studless snow tires or lighter-weight studs, which cause less road wear.