June 2012: Wet weather tyres from Tyre Shopper
Wet weather tyres, or rain tyres as they are sometimes referred to, are specifically designed to cope well in rain and wet conditions. They’ve grown in popularity in recent years as we have become used to increasingly wet summer weather and unpredictable winters in the UK.
The tread on wet weather tyres is designed to minimise risk of aquaplaning, with special grooves which quickly evacuate water from the contact path where the tyre meets the road, and therefore improve grip and stability.
Special ingredients in the rubber, such as having a high silica content, make rain tyres softer and more able to adhere to the road.
Sometimes rain tyres are also smaller and narrower than their dry counterparts; this is so they wheel can move faster, to more quickly disperse water, and also so there is a smaller contact patch and therefore less of the tyre in contact with the road which actually reduces chance of aquaplaning.
Many of the tyre manufactures have developed their own names such as Bridgestone’s Weather Control range or Goodyear’s Optigrip and generally the majority of tyres come with built in wet performance features since wet conditions are such a common occurrence with the British weather.
The new EU tyre regulations coming into force this year mean that all standard car, van and 4x4 tyres in the UK – and throughout the EU – will have to display a special tyre label which gives a rating for wet weather performance.
Specifically it will give details for braking performance in wet conditions. The label will also give details on fuel economy and noise levels too.
The reason for the introduction of the wet weather rating on the labels is to help improve safety on the roads; the idea being that that motorists can see at a glance how well a tyre will perform in the wet before making a purchase.
Tyres will be rated from A – G. Tyres rated A perform extremely well in the wet, with tyres rated G being the poorest in terms of wet performance and having the longest braking distances in the wet. The difference between category A and G is around 18 metres which is the equivalent of four cars.
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