Wet weather tyres - which tyres are the best?

  • Author: OPONEO.IE

Rain tyres are the best match for the water-covered road surfaces. We will provide advice about rain tyres.

Rain tyres-what are these?

The passanger car tyres can be divided into summer and winter ones. The main difference between both types of tyres consist in that how the pattern of tread has been designed. The term of so called “rain tyres” relates to tyres featuring a proper tread surface which provide a well performance on a wet road surface. Stuffing compounds on a tread surface increase the flexibility of tread parts therefor it can easily “adjust their shape” to the roughness of the way. Therefore the contact area of the tyre is increased and it provides better grip of the tyre.

Selection of tyres in connection with the climatic conditions

Driving is not always held in the perfect weather conditions. There are about 140 days of rainy weather in Europe per year and 30% of total traffic accidents take place during rainy conditions. When the rain is torrential the proclivity to aquaplaning: water-covered road surface gets extremely hazardous spot and thus it is vital to have the proper tyres mounted on your car. A layer of water building between wheel and road surface is responsible for loss of grip which prevents the vehicle from the responding to control inputs. The most recent statistics proves that approximately 70 % of drivers in Europe pay a special attention to the grip of tyres to the wat surface of road.

Weather conditions are not always perfect for driving. Statistics say that there are 140 rainy days in Europe annually and over 30% of accidents occur in rainy weather.
Sometimes the rainfall is so profuse that the risk of aquaplaning occurs - the wet road surface becomes a dangerous zone for drivers and therefore the right tyre choice becomes crucial. A wedge of water in front of the tyre causes it to lose traction with the road surface, which often results in losing control of the car. Therefore, according to the latest research, 70% of European drivers expect the best grip from their tyres on a wet road surface.


Uniroyal rain tyres are thought to be the most spread ones.

Why do some tyres perform better on wet road surfaces than other ones?

Learn how to drive on a wet read surface

The main reason why the rain tyres are so successful ones is strictly connected with the application of some specific silica compounds (vastly applied by Uniroyal). The patter of tread tyre is also meaningful. It appears that sipes on a tread surface of tread provide a proper and even pressure distribution’ it is worth to mention that the highest pressure is on the edge of the tyre. Such shape of groves provides an efficient disposal of water. Tyres with about 215-mm width and V-shaped grooves has appeared to be the best match for the rain tyres. In case of wider tyres the water which the treads removes the distance is approximately the same in comparison tyres with asymmetrical pattern. Nevertheless, a directional tread pattern is applied to typical rain tyres.

Directional-patterned tyres features insignificantly lower grip to the surface in comparison to asymmetrical tyres. It is all due to different capability of water removal.

The connection between depth of tread and disposal of water

Taking this issue into account, the effect of the tread depth cannot be omitted. With a deep tread comes greater water disposal-this feature decreases the proclivity to aquaplaning.


The chart above shows clearly how the braking distance lengthens when the depth of tread is decreased

Special thanks for making the source available: MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association) report – ‘An Investigation into the Effects of Tyre Tread Depth on Wet Road Braking and Cornering Performance ‘ (MIRA-1002250)

The enclosed graph presents the influence of tread depth on braking distance (note: while driving in a concrete smooth water-covered road). Braking from 50 to 0 mph while depth of tread equals 6,7 mm is about 29 mm; at the same time at 1,6-mm depth of tread (lower legal limit of tread depth) the braking distance is 42 m long. The technical checks of the tyres are advised; once the tread wears off to the 3-mm depth, it is about time you bought brand new tyres for your car. 

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