New Guidelines on Tire Tread for Worn Tires

This season you might not be shopping for a new car, but what about new tires?

According to a study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) released earlier this year, consumers need to replace the tires on their vehicles sooner than previously advised.

For if you happen to get caught in rainy weather while driving with worn tires, new studies demonstrated that an average stopping distance by a car traveling at 60mph was extended by approximately 43 percent. To put it into perspective, the difference equated to more than the length of a semi-trailer or an approximate 87 feet.

This low tread depth found on worn tires is indicative that a car is likely to hydroplane under wet conditions on the road.

“The tread of the tire – it’s only purpose in life is to get water away so the tire can remain in contact with the road,” Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations told ABC. “So, you have to maintain that tread depth.”

The majority of industry guidelines and state laws recommend that drivers wait until the tread depth reaches 2/32” to replace tires, however, AAA says stopping distances have already begun to deteriorate once the tread depth reaches 4/32”.

For those accustomed to checking by placing a penny in the tread of your tire, these new findings no longer prove this to be an accurate test. Instead, AAA now suggests that drivers use a quarter.

If you do find yourself hydroplaning, AAA’s recommendations are to gently ease off the accelerator and steer into the direction the vehicle should go until traction is regained. Otherwise, braking forcefully may cause the vehicle to skid and could result in an accident.

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