Tyre Tread Depth and Wet Weather Stopping Distances
It takes longer to stop on worn tyres!Your tyres are the only link between your vehicle and the road – a critical contact area no bigger than the palm of your hand. They provide the vital grip for braking and the control of your steering – essential to you stopping safely in an emergency. The distance it takes you to stop can be the difference between life and death.
A new tyre has about 7-8mm of tread and although the legal minimum is 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre, recent research recommends you change your tyres at 3mm for your safety and performance.
As tread depth decreases, your stopping distance will increase. Incorrect tyre pressures also cause longer braking distances as the tyre’s surface contact with the road is less effective. Make sure your tread is safe and legal.
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It has long been known that a decrease in tyre tread depth can lead to the deterioration of a tyre's performance during cornering, and straight line braking in the wet. A tyre is unable to deal with the same volume of water on the road at lower tread depths, which means that the tyre is unable to transmit traction and braking forces to the road as effectively.
Historical studies had confirmed this relationship, however there was a need for independent testing to quantify the effects on typical cars found on today's roads.