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Rainy Season Is Approaching; Make Sure Your Tires Have Enough Tread

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on October 6, 2017

Seattle may not get nearly as much snow as other cities in the U.S., but it does see more rainy days. Driving in the rain can be just as dangerous as driving in snow and ice if your car isn’t properly prepared for the conditions. The best way to prepare? Make sure your tires have enough tread.

When Should You Get New Tires?

When tires are new, their tread is approximately 9/32 of an inch deep. But tires don’t necessarily need to be new to drive safely on wet roads. Legally, tires need to be changed when the tread has worn down to 2/32 of an inch deep, but that “legal limit” isn’t going to be enough to handle Seattle’s slick roads.

Driving on wet roads, especially when traveling through large puddles, can cause cars to hydroplane when there is not enough tread on the tires. Hydroplaning is a dangerous situation where the tires actually lose contact with the surface of the road. And it can easily cause an accident, as drivers often lose control of their cars.

Most manufacturers recommend getting new tires when your tires have worn down to 4/32 of an inch, which will provide needed protection against hydroplaning and keep your tires firmly on the ground.

Take the Quarter Test

The difference between 4/32 of an inch and 2/32 of an inch is very minor, but it makes a big difference out on slick roads. So how do you know if your tires have enough tread without taking your car to the mechanic every week, or every month? The easiest way to know is by performing the quarter test.

Place an upside-down quarter into the grooves on the tire between the tread. If any part of George Washington’s head is covered, the tires likely have enough tread on them. If his head is completely exposed, however, it’s time to get new tires.

Drivers are responsible for keeping their cars in a safe condition at all times in order to keep themselves and those around them safe. (This is why emission testing is required every few years on cars in Seattle.) But having enough tread on your tires is also part of keeping everyone safe.

If you have been in a car accident and you believe someone else was to blame, contact us at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., toll-free at (888) 228-3860. If you have injuries caused by someone not taking proper care of their car, you may be entitled to compensation.

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