Lifestyle

How much tire tread is safe?

No doubt this morning was an intensely exciting one for a driver that I passed by.

She had obviously done some panicked steering on the rain-soaked highway judging from the marks in the median and the amount of grass and mud in the fast lane.

Others had already stopped to help and, aside from being stuck in the median, she and her vehicle appeared relatively unharmed.

This turned my thoughts to the tread on my tires and the question of how much tread is needed to stop and steer properly on wet roads.

We know that tires are considered to be worn out at 1.5 mm or 2/32nds of an inch unless they are winter tires, in which case the limit is three millimetres or 4/32nds of an inch of tread depth.

Is that really enough?

It appears that if you intend to drive on wet roads four millimetres may be the minimum tread depth needed to stop and steer effectively.

Without at least this much tread, the tire cannot move water away from the tread fast enough to maintain adequate traction.

To drive with less tread is not illegal until you reach the legislated minimums, but it may not be safe.

One last thought and that is to buy a decent tire gauge to keep in your glovebox.

Use it every couple of weeks before you start out and make sure that the tires are inflated to the specifications on your vehicle's tire placard.

Proper inflation helps tread do its part to prevent hydroplaning.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Friday.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Liberal candidate comes out swinging to launch election campaign
 
‘He needs, I have.’
 
Family Day boasts flurry of fun across Capital Region
CANCER & FAMILIES-Part 3 – Family focus brought to cancer care
 
Shovel in the dirt closer
 
ELECTION 2014: ‘Future voters’ grill candidates
Living with juvenile diabetes a constant learning curve
 
Vision 2012: leisure then
 
Remembering her smile

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 30 edition online now. Browse the archives.