Check tyre tread depth to avoid aquaplaning as summer flash flood predictions rise

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Summer flash floods are expected to become more frequent, according to a new study, which means it is very important to make sure that your tyres have plenty of grip so you can avoid the perils of aquaplaning.

The Met Office and Newcastle University study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first to draw direct link between climate change and rise in summer downpours, which can have potentially devastating results on communities and roads.

Aquaplaning is the effect of a loss of steering control caused by a film of water building between the tyre and road surface. Most drivers will experience this effect to varying degrees. As the tyre travels in a forward direction it relies mainly on the tread pattern to “evacuate” water from the road surface to enable a contact with the tyres tread pattern.

Several factors can affect the resistance of a tyre to aquaplaning such as vehicle speed, depth of water, tyre pressures and, most importantly, the tread depth of the tyres.

This is why it is vitally important to make sure your tyres have plenty of tread of their tyres. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, however, when tyres reach this level the tread already cannot cope and the car tyres ride up onto a wave of undispersed water, reducing traction and braking performance. This is one of the many reasons why motoring and safety experts recommend playing it safe and replacing tyres when they reach 3mm.

Click here to watch Vicki Butler Henderson demonstrate how to check tyre tread depth and why it is important.

Denna Bowman, Head Office

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