It's possible that Q tires may reduce accidents -- and resulting insurance claims -- for drivers who replace their regular all-season tires with studded tires and continue to drive carefully on icy roads. What's more, because tire studs tend to break up ice and packed snow, using Q tires helps to create a traction-friendly path for other vehicles that follow.
Retractable studs also eliminate the safety concerns associated with running conventional studded tires on dry or wet surfaces. These dangers include reduced traction and significantly longer braking distances. Studded tires running in direct contact with a road can accelerate development of ruts in the surface, which may trap runoff water. Road engineers call this type of deterioration raveling. It can lead to dangerous hydroplaning when vehicle tires track in water-filled ruts [source: Creswell]. Conventional studded tires are also noisy on dry or wet roads, while Q tire's retractable studs offer the quiet, smooth ride of an all-season tire.
Driving with conventional studded snow tires in anything other than severe winter conditions also damages road surfaces and contributes to excessive dust pollution on dry concrete [source: Creswell]. Across the U.S., costs for repairing concrete and asphalt road surfaces damaged by permanently studded tires add up to millions of dollars each year.
Is the Q tire a good choice for you? To determine your answer, evaluate your driving needs and conditions and prioritize the attributes you desire in your tires. The all-season Q tire is designed to provide studded-tire traction on demand and control on icy roads. When properly used, the Q tire technology won't harm road surfaces. Winter-service tires may work well on snowy roads and may be as effective as studded tires on ice in extreme cold, but they're usually recommended for winter driving conditions only. If you get winter-only tires, you'll likely need to buy a set of regular all-season tires for the rest of the year as well.
Regardless of the tires you choose for your vehicle, keep in mind that driving on ice always requires exceptional caution and concentration.
For more information on tires and other related topics, take a look at the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- Blizzak Tires. "A New Substitute for Studded Tires?"http://www.usroads.com/journals/aruj/9712/ru971202.htm
- California Assembly Bill 1971. Chapter 220 (amended). 2008. http://www.legisweb.com/calm/model/Retrieve.asp?ref=urn:calm:2007:ab1971:doc
- Chariker, Sean K. Director of Marketing, Q Tires, Inc. Personal interview, received Oct. 22, 23 and 28, 2008.
- Creswell, J. S., Cunlap, C. F., Green, J. A. "Effects of Studded Tires - Highway Safety - Non-Winter Driving Conditions." Highway Safety Research Institute. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. 1973.http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/555/2/33652.0001.001.pdf
- Howell, Parker. "Whatever Happened to Retractable Studs? Maybe next winter." Spokesman Review.com. Jan. 1, 2008. http://www.spokesmanreview.com/tools/story_pf.asp?ID=225907
- International Tire Exhibition and Conference. 2008. http://www.rubbernews.com/conferences/2008/itec/papers.html#null
- Nokia Tires. "Studded or Unstudded?"http://www.nokiantires.com/studded-or-friction-tires
- Rosenberg, Robert. "Why Is Ice Slippery?" Physics Today. December 2005 http://www.geo.hunter.cuny.edu/~hsalmun/ice_phy2day.pdf
- Scheibe, Robert. An Overview of Studded and Studless Tire Traction and Safety; Washington State Dept. of Transportation. 2002. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Research/Reports/500/551.1.htm
- Thompson Financial News. "New Snow Tires Protect Drivers." http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/03/30/afx4830565.html
- Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. "Effectiveness of Studded Tires." 1971.
- Washington State Department of Transportation. "Pavements and Studded Tire Damage." 2006.