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Highway Patrol: 'Safety first' when it comes to studded snow tires

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Sep 24 2013 06:16:51 PM MDT
Updated On: Sep 24 2013 08:26:52 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

Residents in southwest Montana are gearing up for a storm that could create severe driving conditions that could put you and your family in danger.

We did some digging and found that studded snow tires aren't allowed on your car or truck until next week.

NBC Montana spoke to tire shops and state troopers to find out what you can do. One thing was clear when we spoke to people about driving conditions Tuesday, and that was "safety first."

"The sooner they get them put on the better," said Lisac's Tire Assistant Manager Scott Mulcahy, "just to make sure everybody's safe."

These studded snow tires are not technically allowed to be used until October 1.

"If you need your snow tires, then you need them," said Mulcahy.

Mulcahy said they've already started putting snow tires on, and he doesn't think police would mind too much.

"I think the cops are more important about it being being safe than a couple days early," he said.

"We have what's called 'the spirit of the law' and 'the letter of the law,'" said Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Rhodes.

Rhodes explained the Montana code clearly states no studded snow tires until October 1.

"The spirit of the law is to keep the studded snow tires off the roadway during the good, clean weather," Rhodes explained.

But Rhodes did say that's not an iron-clad rule, and because there is snow on the way, they can make exceptions in the name of safety.

"If they're preparing for a major storm coming in," Rhodes said, "our intent is to make sure the people of the state of Montana are as safe as possible."