Many motorists in Iceland are in a quandary about studded tires at the moment and whether or not it’s time to swap them for summer tires.
Under law, studded winter tires are not permitted after April 15, with the caveat that they may be used if the weather still warrants it. Police can and do stop vehicles on winter tires and hand out fines.
This week, conditions have differed widely across the country, with snow and poor visibility in places in the south and west and on mountain roads, but temperatures in double figures in the east and north.
Police in Höfn, southeast Iceland, have made the change, while East Iceland police are still driving on studded tires.
Jónas Vilhelmsson, chief of police, says that there is still slippery ice on East Iceland mountain roads, so he decided not to change tires just yet. With the start of May, however, he says the police will start actively fining people driving on studs, RÚV reported.
Studded tires are controversial because they damage road surfaces when not covered in snow or ice and send up a fine asphalt dust which can cause respiratory problems. Residents of the capital region are advised that specially-designed year-round tires without studs are good enough in most conditions.
People elsewhere in the country often feel they need studded tires because they make driving in thick ice and snow much easier and safer.