Check car tyres to avoid aquaplaning during a predicted rain-soaked summer

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It appears we must now adjust our expectations of a ‘British summer’ according to the last gloomy report from leading meteorologists.

A ‘typical British summer” is going to be synonymous with unsettled weather, showers, heavy rain, interspersed with a bit of sunshine – much like last year, which was the wettest on record for a century.

An Australian website has even advised vistors to the UK to pack and umbrella, because the soggy summer is set to last. And as if that isn’t depressing enough, a conference organised by the Met Office suggest this could be the pattern for the next 10 years to come!

So we thought it would be a good time to remind motorists about the perils of aquaplaning – that’s when your car tyres can’t push away the amount of water on the road, usually because the tread on the car tyres has worn down.

Aquaplaning causes a layer of water to build up between the car tyres and the road surface leading to a possible dangerous loss of traction and steering control.

If you experience aquaplaning it will feel like you’re driving on ice – but there’s no need to panic!

The main thing to remember is not to apply the brakes suddenly or turn the steering wheel. Take your foot off the accelerator and let the car roll, pumping the brakes lightly if the vehicle does not have anti-lock brakes fitted as standard.

But the point is, if you have plenty of tread on your car tyres they should be able to disperse water, and with 3mm of tread they will shift enough to prevent aquaplaning and give sufficient traction to stop.

However, with 1.6mm – which is the legal minimum in UK law – the tread cannot cope and the car tyres ride up onto a wave of undispersed water, reducing traction and braking performance.

Leaving car tyres to reach 1.6mm of tread depth before changing them may seem like the economical thing to do, but it’s dangerous in wet conditions, which is why so many motoring experts recommend playing it safe and changing at 3mm.

If you are not sure how to check your tread depth, follow these simple steps – insert a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your car tyres. If the outer rim of the coin is covered by the tread, this indicates sufficient tread depth to be safe and legal.

If the outer rim of the coin is visible, it is likely your car tyres need to be replaced.

etyres supply and fit a wide range of car tyres at highly competitive prices to suit all budgets, including economy, mid-range and the premium brands. And our customers benefit from having their car tyres fitted at their home or work – so you don’t have to go out in the rain!

Denna Bowman, Head Office

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