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Published on September 1, 2007

The Importance of Tire Tread Depth and Placement for Wet Traction

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Date Published September 1, 2007
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Recent research has shown that the nominal legal

minimum tread depth requirement of 2/32 of an

inch (1.6 mm) for passenger car tires is inadequate

for wet-road traction at highway speeds. Significant

reduction in available friction occurs when tread

depths fall below 4/32 of an inch (3.2 mm), even for

minimally-wet roads, and well before hydroplaning

begins. No rational basis in highway safety has

been found for the present requirement.