Many motorists do not understand the importance of tyre tread depth and the affects it can have on their vehicles, themselves and other drivers. It is the measurement between the top of the tread rubber to the bottom of the deepest groove, the legal limit for a minimum depth of the tread is 1.6mm. For many safety reasons, most manufacturers recommend to replace tyres before the legal limit is reached, at around 3mm, as the deeper the tread, the more grip you have. Not only can poor tyre tread endanger peoples lives, but it also affects your insurance policy and you can face a fine of up to £2,500!
A recognised trick to check tyre tread is with a 20p coin. Drivers often have the opinion that checking tyre tread depth can be a difficult task, however this is far from the truth. You place a 20p coin into one of the main tread grooves, if the outer layer of the coin sinks in, the tread is above the legal limit.
Aquaplaning is a massive danger to drivers, however it is invisible. Too much water on the road can cause aquaplaning, as your car can loose contact with the road surface, which will then result in the driver skidding.Poor tyre tread depth can make the situation a lot worse, as tyre tread depth is designed to give grip on roads in bad weather conditions. A tyre with poor tyre tread can fill a bucket of water every 7 seconds, as a huge amount of water is displaced, so as the tyre becomes more worn it looses the ability to remove the water from the road which increases the risk of aquaplaning.
Studies have shown that when a tyre tread depth is below 3mm, the stopping distance began to decrease dramatically. Also, tyres with a 1.6mm tyre tread depth have 25% lower performance than those with 3mm. Your vehicle massively relies on your tread to grip the road and stop at the shortest possible distance, in the case of an emergency. It is recommended to change your tyre when the tread reaches 3mm, in order to brake to the vehicles full potential. Worn tyres contribute to 1/10 road accidents in bad weather conditions, due to braking distances decreasing.
Grip & Control
The drivers overall grip and control of the vehicle is reduced due to poor tyre tread depth. Grip performance begins to reduce when tread hits around 3mm, as the tread helps grip on wet roads as it helps remove water from between the tyre and road surface.
It is a necessity to check tyre tread depth regularly, it is especially important during the winter months, by carrying this out it could save you 3 points on your license! Poor tyre tread can severely effect braking distances, grip and can cause aquaplaning, this can be easily avoided by simply checking your tyre tread.
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