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AAA recommends checking tires before the start of monsoon season

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – As Monsoon Prep Week begins, you’ll want to check your vehicle tires.

AAA Arizona said its new research shows driving on relatively-worn tires at highway speeds in wet conditions can increase average stopping distances by 43 percent for passenger vehicles. That’s an additional 87 feet.

“Tires are what keep a car connected to the road,” said AAA spokeswoman Michelle Donati. “Even the most advanced safety systems rely on a tire’s basic ability to maintain traction.”

Current industry guidelines – and some state laws and regulations – recommend drivers wait until tread depth reaches 2/32 inches to replace tires. AAA said based on its new research, it recommends replacement once the tread depth reaches 4/32 inches.

In wet conditions, tires can completely lose contact with the road and skid on the surface of the water, known as “hydroplaning.”

The lower a vehicle’s tread depth, the more likely a car will hydroplane.

AAA Arizona recommends the following precautions on rain-soaked roads:

Avoid the use of cruise control in order to respond quickly if the car loses traction with the road.

– Reduce speed and avoid hard braking and making sharp turns;

– Increase following distance to allow for ample space if a sudden stop occurs;

– If the vehicle begins to hydroplane, gently ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction the vehicle should go until traction is regained. Do not brake forcefully as this can cause the vehicle to skid.

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