Drivers in Ireland are often faced with wet weather conditions, which means they need to drive on slippery or flooded roads. This can be challenging even for experienced motorists as the danger of losing control of the vehicle is real. To minimise the risk, make sure you have proper tyres fitted to your car. Rain tyres are the best choice for driving safely on wet road surfaces.

What are rain tyres?

The passenger car tyres basically fall under the category of summer and winter tyres. The main difference concerns their tread patterns: summer tyres have less grooving to offer better traction and grip on warmer days while winter tyres have a deeper tread pattern to disperse water and slush in colder temperatures.

The tyres designed for good performance in the wet are referred to as rain tyres. These tyres feature a dedicated tread pattern that enables them to do well on water-covered roads. Stuffing compounds on their tread increase the flexibility of the tread parts, which makes them adaptable to the roughness of the surface. As a result, the contact area of the tyre is increased and it provides better grip.

Selecting new tyres? Consider the weather conditions

There are about 140 days of rainy weather in Europe per year and 30% of total traffic accidents occur in rainy conditions. When a downpour follows a dry spell, road surfaces are at their most slippery. It’s absolutely necessary then to have decent tyres fitted to your car and, needless to say, drive carefully. 

When the rain is torrential, the road is very likely to be flooded. With so much water on the road surface, good tyre grip is of pivotal importance. You don’t want your car to stop responding to control inputs, which is something that may happen when a layer of water builds between the wheel and the road surface. And the last thing you want to experience is sudden aquaplaning.

rain-tyres-uniroyal-1

Uniroyal rain tyres are thought to be the most popular choice

Why do rain tyres perform well on wet roads?

The main reason why rain tyres are so successful in wet weather conditions is connected with the application of specific silica compounds (vastly applied by Uniroyal) and the tyres’ tread pattern. Their sipes provide a proper and even pressure distribution. Also, the highest pressure is on the edge of the tyre. Such shape of groves provides an efficient disposal of water.

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.

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 risk of aquaplaning.

tread-depth-and-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 graph presents the influence of tread depth on a braking distance (note: while driving on a concrete water-covered road). Braking from 50 to 0 mph when the tread is 6.7mm deep is about 29m. At the same time, at 16-mm depth of tread (the lowest legal limit of tread depth), the braking distance is 42m.

Install rain tyres and drive safely

As long as you live in a place where regular rainfalls occur, you must take into account driving on wet surfaces. With appropriate rain tyres installed, you can feel much safer when driving through water. However, bear in mind that even the best car tyres require a responsible, thoughtful driver behind the wheel. And even if you’re a very experienced driver, you still need to exercise caution when driving in the rain.