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How Tire Tread Depth Can Affect Stopping Distance

Mercedes-Benz Original Tires are built to be long-lasting and high-performing, but even they will lose tire tread depth over time. Regular maintenance at the Fletcher Jones Motorcars tire center can help, but you’ll still need to keep an eye on your tire tread depth as it can impact the stopping distance of your vehicle. A short stopping distance means you can better react to the unexpected on the streets of Laguna Beach. See how tire tread depth can change stopping distance, along with how to calculate stopping distance for yourself at home. 

What is Tire Tread Depth?

Tire It’s clearly important to vehicle performance, but what is tire tread depth? This is the measurement between your tires’ deepest grooves to the top of the tread rubber. In 1968, experts set the minimum recommended tire tread depth at 2/32 of an inch. That has remained the standard ever since. 

Reaction Distance and Stopping Distance

Reaction distance refers to the distance traveled down the road from the time you realize you need to stop to the moment you actually start braking. Reaction times for the average person run between 0.5 to 2 seconds, but a variety of factors can impact that time. You can expect reaction times and reaction distance to be affected by: 

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Vehicle speed
  • Alcohol or medications 
  • Anticipation of the need to stop

What is Braking Distance?

Braking distance is the distance traveled from the time you apply the brakes to when your vehicle reaches a stop. Braking distance can be impacted by: 

  • Vehicle speed
  • The vehicle’s load
  • Tire tread depth and condition
  • Braking technology and condition 
  • Road gradient and conditions 

How to Calculate Stopping Distance Yourself

When looking at how to calculate stopping distance, braking distance and reaction distance both play a vital role. To calculate your stopping distance, follow this quick formula:

  1. Take the first digit of your vehicle’s speed and square it. 
  2. Add a zero to the result, and then divide by 2.
  3. Double your speed, and add that number to the result from step two. 
  4. Now you have an estimated stopping distance.

To make sure we’re clear, let’s run through an example together:

  • If your vehicle is traveling at 50 mph, you would take the first digit of your speed (5) and square it to get 25. 
  • Now add a zero to the end to get 250. 
  • This number would then be divided by two to get 125. Double your speed of 50 mph (which makes 100 mph), and add that to your previous sum of 125. 
  • With the calculations complete, you now have a stopping distance of 225 feet!

How Tire Tread Depth Relates to Stopping Distance

Tire treads have been designed to push water, mud, and debris through the tire’s grooves while you navigate Orange County and Corona Del Mar. Due to this design feature, a larger portion of the tire’s tread stays in contact with the road. This connection leads to better grip, which leads to better performance, control, and stopping. 

While the minimum recommendation for tire tread depth is 2/32 of an inch, new evidence is emerging that suggests it could be helpful to replace tires sooner. A study was done by TireRack that pitted two sedans against one another. Both were traveling at 70 mph, but one had 2/32 of an inch of tire tread depth and the other had 4/32 of an inch of tire tread depth. The sedan with only 2/32 of an inch of tire tread depth traveled longer and farther before stopping: a whopping 88.8 feet and 1.2 seconds longer! For many, these results could be enough to convince you to replace your tires sooner. 

Get More Tire Tips From Fletcher Jones Motorcars!

Want to have the treads of your Mercedes-Benz Original Tires inspected to ensure you have adequate tire tread depth? Contact us to schedule a tire consultation, and our experts will make any needed recommendations for your vehicle’s tires. 

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