Winter drivers are being urged to check their tyres as wet and icy roads provide perilous driving conditions.
Research shows that stopping distances are significantly affected by surface water, even when the tyre tread is above the legal limit and that tread depth is especially important in wet road conditions.
As tyre tread wears, the tyre is not able to evacuate the water from the road surface as effectively, leading to increased stopping distances and reduced grip on the road.
Independent research conducted by MIRA shows deterioration in braking distances if tyre tread depth drops below 3 millimetres in wet conditions. At the legal limit of 1.6 millimetres, it takes an extra eight metres to stop at 50 mph in wet weather than if the tread depth was 3 millimetres.
Andy Dingley, Senior Analyst for leading tyre manufacturers Bridgestone, said: ‘Drivers will often be more cautious in icy conditions, but the surface water that is created when ice and snow has melted is equally as dangerous. As the UK thaws out, drivers are advised to check their tread depth to ensure they are in the safest possible position on wet roads.’
Motorists can be awarded three penalty points on their driving licence and £2,500 in fines (per tyre) for having tyres worn beyond the legal minimum limit of 1.6 millimetres.