Fascinating Facts: Tyre Treads and How They Keep Drivers Safe on the Road
Tyre tread refers to the pattern of the rubber on the outer surface of the tyre as it provides the vehicle with grip and traction. Chris Lett, owner of Branigan’s Tyres and Australian tyre recycler explains the significance of tyre tread. Tyre tread provides safety for road users as it affects the braking system of the vehicle.
There are three types of tyre treads that have different benefits; symmetrical, asymmetrical and directional tyre treads.
Symmetrical tread patterns are equal in the inner and outer halves of the tyre. Symmetry treads allow the tyre to rotate in either direction. These tyres also “offer excellent directional stability, have low rolling resistance and reduce fuel consumption,” says Lett.
Asymmetrical treads use a different pattern on the inside and outside of the tyre. The inner part of the tread is designed to displace water and provides improved protection against aquaplaning. The outer part is designed for traction and also for lower road noise. Asymmetrical tyre treads provide excellent handling of the vehicles as it has “high curve stability, and has good grip in wet conditions,” says Lett.
Directional treads are ideal for sporty vehicles as it is designed for one direction of travel. These tyres offer high protection against aquaplaning (loss of control of vehicle caused by wet patches or puddles on the road). The pattern of this tyre tread provides excellent “handling in tough and cold conditions, like snow, and has very good traction at high speeds,” says Chris.
Chris offers insight into choosing the best tyre tread suited for the safety of motorists. Symmetrical tyre treads are budget conscious, and “the lifespan of tyres can be extended by regularly rotating the tyres,” says Chris. Maintenance of tyres can “reduce fuel consumption and it ensures the safety of motorists on the road, ” Chris adds.
Directional tyres are the best for driving in mud and on wet roads. However, Chris points out that unless motorists tend to drive fast in wet conditions or drive on wet and muddy roads, non-directional tyre treads are recommended. The same is true of asymmetrical treads. “If people are worried about aquaplaning or sliding out in the wet, they do provide better traction and cornering, but with careful driving in adverse road conditions, symmetrical treads will have more than adequate road-holding,” says Chris.
When choosing tyre treads, matching them across axles is important. “Different tread patterns can be used between front and rear, but not on the same axle,” Chris notes. “It makes sense. Different tread patterns are designed to do different things, and they definitely weren’t designed to work in unison with other tread patterns.”
“The most important thing about tread,” says Chris, “is making sure that there is enough of it! Worn tyres can double stop distances, and drivers are far more likely to lose control of the vehicle.” Accident statistics from around the world include some thought-provoking facts about tyres and road safety.
“It is important to remember that enough tread is more important than the type of tread,” says Lett.
Branigans Tyres has well-established workshops in Burleigh Heads and Southport in the Gold Coast region. Vehicle owners are encouraged to drive in at their convenience as no pre-bookings or appointments are required. The branches are Burleigh Heads: (07) 5535 2660 situated at 13 Flagstone Drive or Southport: (07) 5591 8633 situated at 1/277 Southport-Nerang Rd.
Branigans Tyres Southport
Branigans Tyres Southport
277 Southport Nerang Road
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Guardian Talks journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.