ABILENE, Texas — A new study released by the American Automobile Association (AAA) states that it takes longer for drivers to stop with worn tires.
In the US, about 800,000 crashes happen on wet roads every year, according to the AAA, who advises drivers to check the tread depth on their tires often.
Tom Ceniglis, the owner of Tom's Tire Pros in Abilene, said that people should change their tires at least every five years.
Once tires are too worn and the roads are wet, that combination can be deadly.
“When you got a wet road and you’re not able to get rid of that water and you’ve got a worn tire, it’s really a cocktail for disaster. You do not want to be in that situation,” Ceniglis said.
The AAA states that if someone were to slip an upside quarter between their tire grooves, they should not be able to see George Washington’s head and if they do, this could mean that it is time for them to purchase new tires.
When someone's tires are worn to a tread depth of 4/32” and they are driving on wet roads, the AAA mentions that this increases their stopping distance by more than 80 feet, which means it will take much longer for them to come to a full stop.
“When it’s a little wet on the roads, it’s going to naturally take longer to stop, so you’ve got to leave yourself a bigger cushion as far as starting to brake earlier,” Ceniglis said. “But as tires get more and more worn, the length of the stopping distance gets longer.”
There are some things that people can do to can get the most out of their tires.
Ceniglis said that people can do this by checking their air pressure, getting a tire alignment done and rotating their tires.
Ceniglis also said that people usually rotate their tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
According to Ceniglis, tires are one of the most important parts of somebody's vehicle.
"There's one thing touching the ground when you're driving down the road and that's the tires. If the tires are compromised, the whole vehicle is compromised," Ceniglis said.
In their study, the AAA performed tests and compared new tires to tires worn to a tread depth of 4/32”.
With the worn tires, a passenger car had an increased stopping distance of 87 feet and the stopping distance was 86 feet for a light truck.
A passenger car also had a 33 percent reduction in handling ability and a light truck had a 28 percent reduction in handling ability.
Both Ceniglis and the AAA warn people that tires at a tread depth of 2/32” can jeopardize a driver's safety.
If anybody is looking to purchase new tires, the AAA recommends doing research before buying tires solely based on price.
These are some precautions that the AAA recommends for drivers on wet roads:
Avoid the use of cruise control in order to respond quickly if the car loses traction with the road.
Reduce speed and avoid hard braking and making sharp turns.
Increase following distance to allow for ample space if a sudden stop occurs.
If the vehicle begins to hydroplane, gently ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction the vehicle should go until traction is regained. Do not brake forcefully as this can cause the vehicle to skid.