On the skids: Worn tires and wet roads put drivers at risk - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

On the skids: Worn tires and wet roads put drivers at risk

What AAA now dubs as worn tires used to be considered OK to drive on. (Source: AAA) What AAA now dubs as worn tires used to be considered OK to drive on. (Source: AAA)

(RNN) – Worn tires and wet roads aren’t a good combination.

The study released by AAA Thursday points out what many might consider to be the obvious.

But there’s more to it.

What AAA now dubs as worn tires used to be considered OK to drive on.

“New research from AAA reveals that driving on relatively worn tires at highway speeds in wet conditions can increase average stopping distances by a staggering 43 percent, or an additional 87 feet — more than the length of a semi-trailer truck — when compared to new tires,” AAA said.

Until now, a tread depth of 2/32 of an inch was considered the minimum before replacement. The AAA report said even at 4/32 of an inch, tires have lost a lot of their traction on wet roads.

Compared to new tires, tires worn to a tread depth of 4/32 of an inch show:

  • An average increased stopping distance of 87 feet for a passenger car and 86 feet for a light truck.
  • A 33 percent reduction in handling ability, for a passenger car and 28 percent for the light truck on average.

“Tires are what keep a car connected to the road,” the AAA’s John Nielsen said.

“Even the most advanced safety systems rely on a tire’s basic ability to maintain traction, and AAA’s testing shows that wear has a significant impact on how quickly a vehicle can come to a stop in wet conditions to avoid a crash.”

Your tire shop can measure your tread depth or you can use a quarter. It works like the old penny test. If you can see the top of George Washington’s head, your tires may need to be replaced.

In wet driving conditions, AAA recommends these precautions:

  • Avoid the use of cruise control in order to respond quickly if the car loses traction with the road.
  • Reduce speed and avoid hard braking and making sharp turns.
  • Increase following distance to allow for ample space if a sudden stop occurs.
  • If the vehicle begins to hydroplane, gently ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction the vehicle should go until traction is regained. Do not brake too hard as this can cause the vehicle to skid.

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