Dry handling and braking with studded tires

One of the beefs that people have with studded tires is that they handle poorly and extend braking distances. I have found this to not be the case.

An argument can be made that they handle better than unstudded tires. Unstudded tires achieve their winter grip through the use of softer rubber compounds. While this is good for grip it can lead to squirminess. I once had a set of Bridgestone Blizzaks that were genuinely squirrely at speed.

By contrast, studded tires get much of their grip from the studs. This allows for a harder compound to be used which makes for more stable and predictable handling.

As for braking, they perform admirably. In the last three weeks, I have had two instances where slowly merging on ramp drivers pulled in front of me while I was traveling at highway speed in the left lane. In both cases, mere inches separated my car from theirs, and I hit my brakes hard enough to engage ABS. The tires gripped as expected and in neither instance did I think, “I wish I had better grip”.

Bottom line: my studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 winter tires handle and brake very much like traditional tires on dry pavement.