Driving in rain, especially heavy rain, can be terrifying. Wind speeds increase, visibility decreases, and more accidents occur. The more rain that falls, the more dangerous it is to be driving. Rain water builds up on the surface of the road and increases the likelihood of hydroplaning. If you remember back to driver’s education classes, your car can hydroplane at speeds as low as 30 MPH, putting you in a very dangerous situation on the road. You also may remember from driver’s education that the first twenty minutes of rain are the most dangerous because all the dried oil and petroleum products on the road become loose, making the roads extremely slick. Slowing down, practicing defensive driving, and equipping your car with the best rain tires can increase your safety when road conditions are wet. There are a lot of tires available on the market today, but choosing the best tires for rain can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for. The following attributes are essential to ensuring you’ve found the best rain tire.
A circumferential groove, or a channel that encircles the entire tire, is imperative for safely driving in the rain. Water build-up on rain-soaked roads is displaced through the grooves, which places your tire’s rubber back in contact with the road. The best tires for rain will have three, even four, circumferential grooves.
Another rain tire attribute is sipes. Sipes are tiny slits in the tire’s tread surface that act like a sponge to suck up water. The more sipes a rain tire has, the better.
Asymmetric Tread Design
If you’re worried about sacrificing performance on dry-roads with a dedicated rain tire, look for a tire with an asymmetric tread design. The outside portion (the side of the tire farthest away from your car’s center line) is designed for performance on dry-roads, while the inside portion will give you safer handling on rainy days.