OPINION: The Government Doesn’t Need To Force You To Buy Tires
A new bill is being considered here in the snowy state of Maine to require all vehicles to be equipped with snow tires or all-season tires from October through April.
I don't have the numbers but I feel confident in my assumption that the vast majority of us have snow tires or all-seasons. It would be stupid not to. To me, winter tires are a worthy investment. I did winter of 2012 on really bad all-seasons on a 1999 Saab and commuted from Jefferson to Augusta. It wasn't fun. I remember doing a 180 on Memorial Circle (thankfully I was the only one out in the snowy mess) and struggling to get up some hills around the Marketplace area here in Augusta. Do you know what else? I didn't have a lot of extra money at the time. Tires weren't a priority, they couldn't be.
I'm in a better place financially these days, but this winter I didn't get my winter tires put on until a week ago. My "summer" tires are all-seasons but do you know why it took me months and multiple snow storms to get them switched? Time. Until the first of the year I was often working 7:45 am to 5 or later. It's a struggle getting into a tire shop when so many others are in a rush to do so as well. Especially on those coveted Saturdays. Imagine if EVERYONE was required to do a switchover by October. Imagine you have a common tire size. Imagine the hassle of getting your hands on some. Imagine the potential for prices to go up due to the fact that thanks to the government, you have no choice but to do this. Also keep in mind that while it's not uncommon to see snowfall as early as September, it's also not uncommon to not see a ton of snow accumulation until November or December.
Know anyone with a summer ride? Something cool, sporty, timeless? Maybe they don't have all-seasons. I guess they'd have to comply or wait until May 1st to roll it out and put it away by the end of September.
I hear the folks that say this is beneficial for the safety of the driver and others on the road. I get that mentality and I don't think it's a grotesquely unreasonable thought, I simply tend to side with the liberty over security mentality. I don't think the government needs to be involved in every little thing. Heck, I don't think we should have annual car inspections. If someone wants to risk driving a dangerous rust bucket, so be it.
I believe in letting people make their own decisions, even if I think they're stupid decisions. We take risks every day when we pull out of our driveways. Even the highest quality studded snow tires won't save you from hitting black ice or slush just right. You can't control deer from running into the road. You can't legislate risk away completely. Could this bill save a life? Sure. But again, to value liberty over security involves risk, and that is a risk I am willing to take.