Tire Performance And Driving Safety: Are They Related?

Tire Performance And Driving Safety: Are They Related?

You might think: "How could the tire's performance affect the vehicle safety on the road?". In fact, it does affect the quality and safety of driving more than you would have expected. To speak briefly, the turning, braking, and accelerating forces of the vehicle are directly proportional to the quality and performance of your tires. And if you take a moment to delve into this statement, you understand that your entire driving experience actually depends on tires.

The way the car brakes in front of a potential danger, the way it turns to the right or left, the stability you feel (or not) when accelerating - all of them are the result of your tires' performance (or lack of performance).

You literally depend on the 4 contact patches through which your car contacts the road. And if any of these 4 contact patches are not performing enough, what ride safety can we talk about?!

Tire Performance And Safety

Even in the context of the finest roads and smooth turns, the car needs performance tires so that it does not lose its grip on the road. But add to this some ice, snow, or rain on the road, and the vehicle has to face a real challenge. How do you ensure its stability in such conditions? It's not just about a high-performance engine. It is not a question of low body weight either. It is only about performance tires that can face the challenge.

Tires must meet 2 criteria to successfully face different road challenges. The first one refers to the right TIRE pressure. The second refers to the tire tread according to the roads and the conditions in which the vehicle is mostly driving.

Why Is Tire Tread So Important?

To understand the answer better, imagine that you are driving on a wet road, and it's raining cats and dogs. If your tires do not have the right tread for such conditions, you will feel your vehicle aquaplaning on the road. Not only can you lose control of the car, but also the tires are severely damaged in such conditions.

Another example that reflects the need to match tire treads and circumstances around is the cold weather conditions. Ideally, tires preserve a stable grip even in the most wretched conditions. The friction of the road surface during the winter varies with that of the summer. In these circumstances, tires with improper treads do not match the road conditions, posing a threat to the driver's safety. In the same context, the anticipatory properties and steering response to hazards are imminently compromised.

After such a not-very-optimistic introduction, let's take all the aspects in turn. At the same time, we will talk about how we can reduce vehicle safety risks associated with tire performance.

Tires As A Direct Factor Of Car Performance And Handling

Every time a driver is curious about the performance of the car, he takes into account engine torque, transmission, and the amount of horsepower. And he is right to some extent because they really influence everything that refers to the car's performance. However, there is another criterion of influence, namely the tires, which drivers ignore for some reason.

To be even more specific, what impacts car handling is mainly the size and diameter, besides the tread. Whenever they are not suitable for the car, the vehicle handling is prone to collapse. And if you get into the essence, this makes complete sense. As you know, the tire comes into contact with the road only in a small portion. And if the size is not suitable, the driving experience suffers enormously.

Tire Diameter

The common question is whether a larger diameter offers better car handling. In short, yes, the bigger it is, the more stable the car is on the road. Moreover, a larger tire diameter improves the car's braking ability, which is essential in critical situations. A nice bonus is the fact that wide-diameter tires look aesthetically attractive.

However, considering that their sidewall is usually thinner, they are exposed to bending. Either way, it is a good idea to opt for tires with a wider diameter (within the manufacturer's recommendations) to ensure an increased level of stability.

Tire Width

Like the question about diameter, drivers ask themselves if tire width somehow influences car handling. Again, in short: yes. And the most optimal is to opt for tires as wide as possible. The width of the tires contributes to or affects the performance and traction of the vehicle. It all depends on the width you choose. However, this rule is not valid for absolutely all cars, so you should make sure by reading the manufacturers' recommendations.

It is best to opt for the maximum limit recommended by the manufacturers. Going beyond the width limit might jeopardize the driver's safety on the road. Steering becomes more difficult, and overall car handling requires additional effort. For this reason, respect the rigors recommended by the manufacturers, avoiding overlooking the scrub ratio.

Tire Stiffness and its Impact on Vehicle Handling

Another influencing factor on car handling and performance is the stiffness of the tires. You definitely want a ride with safe braking abilities and optimal traction. Also, you want a stable grip, especially in more sophisticated road conditions. For this purpose, you will need softer tires, as the hard ones offer you exactly the opposite.

Despite the benefits of soft tires, you should still know that they are somewhat more prone to early wear. In particular, they are sensitive to rough terrain, deteriorating much faster than average. So, you have to choose the tires according to the circumstances in which they mainly run.

Tread Depth

We mentioned a thing or two about the importance of tire tread patterns on driving safety. However, we want to add something more. It is not difficult for us to reiterate that the tire tread, especially tire depth, is directly responsible for the steering response and traction of your vehicle. The more expressive the depth, the more the vehicle will face extreme conditions such as gravel, sand, snow, mud, and anything of that kind.

Contrastingly, the shallower it is, the more the grip will be compromised. It's as simple as possible: tread thickness is directly proportional to improved traction and braking force. However, the more expressive the tread, the noisier the driving experience. So, choose in such a way as to find the golden mean.

Bottom Line

Keep in mind that choosing the right tires is not just about your own preferences. It mainly depends on the manufacturers' recommendations, which you must take into account. If you want phenomenal traction and grip, that doesn't mean you have to get all-terrain tires for a passenger car. I hope you understand the irony of the example. The idea is that it is advisable to have tires in accordance with the manufacturers' recommendations. These recommendations have in mind the stability and optimal handling of your vehicle.

As you can see, every aspect of your tires influences either positively or negatively your car handling and its performance on the road. Keep them in mind whenever you are looking for new tires. Don't turn your tires exclusively into an aesthetic detail. Their primary purpose is to optimize the driving process and your safety as a driver. Their aesthetic role is also important, but it is an exclusively secondary role.

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