Get a Grip — Tips for Safer Driv­ing on Wet Roads

The Star (St. Lucia) - Life Begins 2 Nite - - JUICY LOCAL GOSSIP! -

It’s that time of the year again — time for wet­ter roads and, un­for­tu­nately, more ac­ci­dents. Rus­sell Shep­herd, a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer for Miche­lin North Amer­ica and self-pro­claimed “tire nerd,” has cer­tainly earned his in­for­mal ti­tle as ev­i­dent by his 15 years of driv­ing in almost ev­ery type of weather con­di­tion imag­in­able. Most con­cern­ing for him — wet weather.

“Most peo­ple don’t re­al­ize how much wet roads af­fect their driv­ing,” says Shep­herd. “When roads be­come wet, it takes longer to stop and more time to re­act, mak­ing it more im­por­tant than nor­mal to pay at­ten­tion to your car and other driv­ers.”

So, what can the av­er­age driver do? Shep­ard sug­gests get­ting to the bot­tom of things first — with the tires. Here are some tips:

* Check all tires reg­u­larly for tread wear and pres­sure. Changes in sea­son and tem­per­a­tures make it a good time to check both.

* Be cau­tious from the start. As soon as it starts rain­ing, trac­tion can be­come neg­a­tively af­fected. It only takes a small amount of wa­ter to mix with oil and dust to cre­ate a slick sur­face.

* Find the right tire. A tire with a grip de­signed to han­dle wet roads, such as the new Miche­lin Premier A/S tire, can make a big dif­fer­ence. This tire has a unique rub­ber com­pound en­gi­neered to max­i­mize trac­tion, and two sets of grooves to help chan­nel wa­ter away from the tires to main­tain that trac­tion. The sec­ond set of grooves is hid­den when the tire is new, but emerges as the tire wears. This dis­tinc­tive de­sign fea­ture main­tains the tire’s abil­ity to fun­nel wa­ter away, even when worn, which pro­longs the life of the tire and en­hances driver safety.

* Get in touch with your car. Take time to learn how your car re­sponds on wet roads. Is the steer­ing looser than nor­mal? Are you slid­ing when you brake? Do you no­tice the ABS (Anti-lock Brak­ing Sys­tem) kick­ing in? If so, your tires could be los­ing their grip. Slow down and get your tires checked as soon as pos­si­ble.

For more in­for­ma­tion about wet-weather driv­ing and choos­ing the right tire for your car, visit www.miche­lin­man.com/.

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