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Top 6 driving tips in the wet

2013-10-23 10:19

FUNKY TIPS: Dunlop Tyres SA has posted some funky tyre safety videos on YouTube which refer to Apollo Tyres SA tip for wet weather driving. Image: YouTube

Winter is still holding on in the Cape and the summer rain is falling in Gauteng so, from Dunlop, here are some driving tips for when the tar gets slippery... go learn!

Winter is still holding on in the Cape but the summer rain is falling in Gauteng. Take heed of these wet-weather driving tips from Dunlop.

The past few months have brought a spate of tragic collisions on South Africa's roads and, coupled with weather conditions, hs jolted drivers to be more cautious when driving.

Tyre manufacturer Apollo Tyres South Africa want drivers to adopt safe tyre practices and responsible driving techniques by adhering to some driving tips.

Watch Dunlop's tyre safety videos

Check the condition of your tyres: Complete loss of adhesion to the road’s surface can come from a combination of smooth tyres and high speed. This causes causing aqua-planeing, with possibly tragic consequences. 

Even with new or barely worn tyres, reduce your speed in the wet and increase the following distance to the vehicle ahead of you. This is particularly valid after a long dry spell when rubber crumbs, diesel fuel and oil are absorbed by the tar and will literally float to the road surface to form a slippery film before it is washed away.


The dangerous practice of regrooving tyres, which consists of cutting a pattern into bald tread to extend tye life should be avoided at all costs. Regrooving the tyre has the effect of exposing the tyre casing, breakers or belts, which can cause the tyre to fail, running the high risk of a crash.

The South African Road Traffic Act prohibits the use of a tyre so worn or damaged that the cord or fabric used in its construction is exposed. The Act also states that the tyre tread should be clearly visible and must be at least one-millimetre deep around the entire circumference of the tyre (some experts insiste on 2mm, but that's your call!). This minimum tread depth (MTD) legislation aims to protect the motoring public and pedestrians from the dangers of badly worn, smooth or near smooth tyres, especially on a wet road.

The tyre’s tread displaces water to provide the grip on the road so smooth tyres’ wet-road grip decreases dramatically as speed increases. The stopping distance required will also increase as the tread pattern wears down. At 120km/h, in wet weather, the road grip of a new tyre can drop to 80% while that of an almost smooth tyre plummets to 10%.


Also, with new tyres the stopping distance at normal city speeds on a wet road is about 17m. At 3mm tread depth the distance increases to 20m and at 1.6mm, still above the current minimum tread depth, almost 32m - eight car lengths.

In an effort to promote tyre safety and keep the public informed of best practice methods, ATSA has developed a series of innovative tyre care video clips aimed at promoting education and safety in a manner that can be easily understood by a diverse audience. 

Currently playlisted on YouTube under Dunlop Tyres SA, the vibrant and contemporary clips have an easy-going retro appeal. The clips work their way through some of the basic tyre guidelines detailing the reasons why tyres should be balanced, aligned and rotated regularly, as well as explaining tread-depth indicators, sidewall markings and the dangers of incorrect inflation.

So, when travelling in South Africa this summer, especially in rain, ensure that your tyres have a safe and legal tread depth and keep a good following distance - after all, it could mean the difference between life and death.

Read more on:    safety tips  |  driving tips  |  tyres

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