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How Tire Tread Depth Can Affect Stopping Distance

High-quality tires, like those from Mercedes-Benz, offer unparalleled performance on the roads of San Bernardino County. Yet even with regular tire maintenance, the tire tread depth of your Mercedes-Benz tires will decrease with use. Decreased tire tread depth can impact your vehicle’s performance and handling, including the stopping distance of your vehicle. Here, Mercedes-Benz of Ontario’s tire center shares how to calculate stopping distance and the part that tire tread depth plays in bringing your vehicle to a stop. 

What is Tire Tread Depth?

MaintenanceIt may be clear by now that tire tread depth is important, but what is tire tread depth? This term refers to the measurement between your tires’ deepest grooves to the top of the tread rubber. The minimum tread depth experts recommend for safe driving is 2/32 of an inch.

Reaction Distance’s Role in Stopping Distance

From the moment you recognize the need to stop to the moment you start braking, your vehicle will continue to travel down the road. The distance traveled during this time is called the reaction distance. For the average driver, reaction times will range between 0.5 to 2 seconds. However, there are factors that can impact reaction times, such as: 

  • Fatigue
  • Speed of your vehicle
  • Medications or alcohol
  • Anticipation of the need to stop

What is Braking Distance?

The distance traveled from the time you apply the brakes to the time your vehicle comes to a complete stop is called the braking distance. Factors that can impact this distance include:

  • Speed of your vehicle
  • Your vehicle’s load
  • Tire tread depth and condition
  • Road conditions and gradient
  • Braking technology and condition 

How to Calculate Stopping Distance on Your Own

When it comes to how to calculate stopping distance, you’ll need to consider both reaction distance and braking distance. For a quick estimate of your stopping distance, follow this simple formula:

  1. Take the first digit of the speed your vehicle is traveling and square it. Add a zero to the result, and divide by 2.
  2. Now double your speed, and then add that number to the previous result.

Let’s run the numbers real quick. If, for example, your vehicle is traveling at 50 mph you would take the first digit of your speed (5) and square it to get 25. Next, you’d add a zero to the end to get 250. This number would then be divided by two to get 125. Double your speed of 50 mph (which makes 100 mph), and add that to your previous sum of 125. Complete the calculations, and you should have a stopping distance of 225 feet!

Relationship Between Tire Tread Depth and Stopping Distance

When you’re driving through the roads of Upland and Corona, your tire treads push water, mud, and debris through the tire’s grooves. Thanks to this process, more of the tire’s tread stays in contact with the road, which ultimately serves to improve performance and handling. Since 1968, it’s been recommended that you keep a minimum tire tread of 2/32 of an inch, but new studies are showing there may be more benefit to replacing tires sooner. 

TireRack conducted a study using two sedans traveling 70 mph: one had 2/32 of an inch of tire tread depth and the other had 4/32 of an inch of tire tread depth. The sedan with 2/32 of an inch of tire tread depth took an additional 88.8 feet and 1.2 seconds longer to stop when compared to the sedan with deeper tread depth. Results like this are a pretty convincing reason to replace your tires more often.

Find Experienced Tire Help With Mercedes-Benz of Ontario

From answering questions to providing maintenance and repairs, you can count on the professionals at the Mercedes-Benz of Ontario tire center. Feel free to contact us with questions, or pay us a visit today near Rancho Cucamonga!

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