There’s more to making tracks than meets the eye. We’ll look at tires, today on Engineering Works.
Most of us don’t think about the tires we’re riding on until we have to. Tires do more than get you from here to there. They need to hug the road in turns and sudden stops, on wet roads and dry. That’s where tread comes in.
Tread is the part of the rubber that hits the road. But that sporty tread on your tires does more than make your car look cool. Engineers design tread patterns to improve traction – how tires grip the pavement. Traction keeps your car from sliding when you turn that corner a little too fast. It keeps you from getting stuck in snow and mud.
The right tread can even help keep your car from hydroplaning in heavy rain or water on the highway — scary. What happens is a wedge of water builds up under rolling tires and lifts them off the road, and then you’re in trouble.
Tread designs with center channels and slanted grooves, often V-shaped, flush water out the back and sides of the tire so you can steer and brake safely.
But tires in even the best condition can’t do their job unless you drive sensibly. Drive too fast, and those grooves can’t push the water out quickly enough. So slow down on wet roads!
Well, it’s time to make our own tracks and head for home.
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