AKRON — Officials in Alaska, Oregon, Quebec and Washington state have extended their respective deadlines for removing studded tires because of COVID-19 pandemic-related business hour limitations.
The extensions for getting studded tires removed are:
- In Alaska, May 11 instead of April 1 or May 1, depending on latitude;
- In Oregon, May 15 instead of April 30;
- In Quebec, June 5 instead of May 1; and
- In Washington, May 15 instead of March 31.
The extension in Washington is the state's second. Earlier the state's department of transportation extended the deadline to May 1 but extended it a second time, citing the state's social-distancing guidelines that are in place until May 4.
Studded tires are legal in Washington from Nov. 1 to March 31, the Washington DOT said, but state law gives the department the authority to extend the deadline when circumstances call for it.
"Washington is experiencing some extraordinary challenges with COVID-19 right now and we recognize this is not a time for 'business as usual,'" James Morin, WSDOT maintenance operations branch manager, said. "People are dealing with a lot of concerns — and this further extension means getting tires changed by the end of April doesn't need to be one of them."
The WSDOT urged drivers to get their studded tires removed prior the extended deadline, if possible, because studded tires damage the pavement. The agency noted that a $136 fine takes effect at midnight May 16 for residents still driving on studded tires.
In Alaska, Gov. Mike Dunleavy suspended the state statute prohibiting the use of studded tires until May 11, citing a desire to ease the financial burden of Alaskans, and to assist with preventing the spread of COVID-19.
"Though there is an inherent risk in conducting nonurgent business and transactions," Mr. Dunleavy said in a proclamation, "auto-repair facilities are considered essential businesses and are permitted to remain open and provide studded tire removal services, if they choose."
The Alaska statute forbids the use of studded tires on any paved road between May 1 and Sept. 15 in all communities above 60 degrees North latitude, and between April 1 and Sept. 30 below 60 degrees North latitude.
In Quebec, auto service businesses were limited until recently to providing services only to other businesses deemed "essential" by the provincial government.
Point S Canada, for instance, notified customers on April 15 that stores again were open for business for the general public after being restricted to serving "essential" business only throughout most of March and April.
SEPARATELY, Nokian Tyres P.L.C. is advising consumers who use winter tires to schedule their summer tire changeover as soon as local business conditions allow to avoid wearing out their winter tires prematurely and to avoid potential safety issues throughout the summer months.
Driving on winter tires into the spring is a "temporary solution," Martin Dražík, Nokian's product manager for Central Europe, said, but using winter tires for a longer time "could pose a significant threat to safety," especially in the months when temperatures are high.
Driving a car on winter tires in spring and summer brings several risks, Nokian said, including longer braking distances, changes in stability and handling and less accurate driving response. Winter tires are made from compounds engineered to operate optimally in lower and freezing temperatures.
In warmer conditions they wear up to 20% faster than in colder months and the risk of aquaplaning on wet roads increases, Nokian said.