Driving Tips For Raining Conditions When Your Tire Treads Are Thin

Posted on: 3 June 2016

While many motorists associate the depth on the treads of their tires with being most important during the winter, you shouldn't discount the value of healthy treads during summer driving, too. When your tires lack sufficient tread depth, you'll often have trouble controlling your vehicle — especially when the roads are wet during a period of heavy rain. If your tires' treads are getting low, it's a good idea to visit your local tire shop to buy a new set; once they're installed, you'll feel more confident driving in the rain. If you find yourself out on the roads in the rain before you can get to the tire shop, keep these tips in mind.

Cut Down On Your Speed

When the roads are slick due to the rain, you shouldn't attempt to travel at the speed limit. Instead, plan on dramatically reducing your driving speed so that you'll be able to control your vehicle more safely. At lower speeds, you'll be able to stop more suddenly and you'll have less risk of the back end of the vehicle sliding out when you drive around the corner. When your tires lack tread depth, you'll often struggle in these two areas. Don't be intimidated by drivers who are moving more quickly than you; if necessary, pull over in a safe location to let others pass.

Don't Use Cruise Control

Cruise control can be a valuable ally during highway driving, but it's best to switch this function off when it's raining and your tires don't have a safe amount of tread depth remaining. Hydroplaning is always a concern when you're driving in conditions with heavy rain, but you can successfully manage a hydroplaning situation by taking your foot off the gas pedal until you get your vehicle under control. When the cruise control is engaged, however, the vehicle will work to maintain its preset speed, which could leave you unable to control the vehicle.

Be Gentle With Your Brakes

Hitting the brakes hard can help you stop suddenly in a variety of situations, but it's not the best strategy when the road is wet due to rain. Just as it's important to drive more slowly when it's raining, it's also best to exercise gentleness with your brakes — especially if you drive an older vehicle without anti-lock brakes. In this case, stepping hard on the brake pedal can lock your wheels and put you into a skid. To ensure that you're always under control, apply your brakes firmly but gradually.