Studded tire season opened Oct. 1;
motorists encouraged to use 511 system to plan safe travel

ITD reminds drivers they can use studded tires to improve vehicle handling in snow and ice. The use of studded tires is legal from Oct. 1 through April 30. Snow has fallen in several of Idaho's higher elevations recently and likely will spread to the rest of the state as winter conditions arrive.

While it is legal to use the tires, the transportation department advises against it unless extreme conditions warrant. Studded tires are snow tires with small metal cleats embedded in the tread.

Using studded tires may cause undue wear on bare roadways. All-season tires with good tread or "studless" tires are good alternatives for most winter driving conditions.

Studded tire laws vary in neighboring states. Authorized start and end dates are:

  • Montana: Oct. 1 - May 31  
  • Nevada: Oct. 1 - April 30
  • Utah: Oct. 15 - March 31
  • Oregon: Nov. 1 - March 31
  • Washington: Nov. 1 - March 31
  • Wyoming: Legal all year

For the latest highway and weather conditions in Idaho, call the Traveler Information Service at 5-1-1. For online updates, visit the website at Telephone and web reports are a free service provided by ITD and are accessible 24 hours a day. Reports are updated as conditions change.

The Web includes options for wireless devices and also provides images from more than 80 highway cameras located across the state. Idaho's 511 system shares 576 telephone lines with several other states, minimizing the chance that callers might get a busy signal during winter storms.

The website also includes links to similar road and weather reports for adjacent states. Most states provide telephone service (including wireless) for callers dialing 511 from within the respective state, although locations near state lines might route calls to a neighboring system.

Idaho's voice-response 511 telephone system enables callers to check highway conditions in specific regions without pressing numbers on a keypad.

Drivers are strongly encouraged to pull off the highway at a safe location to make 511 calls or have a passenger make the call.

Published 10-14-2011