Check tyres to avoid aquaplaning during predicted hot and rainy summer

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The Met Office predicts we could be in for one of the hottest summers on record, but it also warns the UK is likely to see a fair bit of rain – which is an important factor when it comes to looking after your tyres.

Many motorists make the mistake of thinking they don’t have to worry too much about the condition of their tyres during the summer months, because driving conditions are much less hazardous than during the winter.

However, this is not the case and the heavy downpours can lead to the risk 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. The car ends up rising up on a film of water and suddenly both steering and brakes no longer work properly.

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. The best thing to do is ease off the accelerator and let the car roll, pump the brakes lightly if the vehicle does not have anti-lock brakes fitted as standard.

To cope properly with wet conditions, tyres should have the correct tread depth as the tread pattern helps to remove water from the road surface, allowing the tyre to grip the road properly.

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 tyres watch our short tyre tread depth video, which features Vicki Butler Henderson explaining how to check your tread depth and why it is important.

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!

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