Innovative Tire Design Takes on Wet Roads for a New Standard in Safety


Cars are a lot more high tech than they were even a decade ago, but the reason that many cars crash is still very old-fashioned.

Slipping and sliding in wet weather.

There are almost 5.9 million vehicle crashes annually, and a nearly a quarter of them are caused by rain and wet pavement, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration*.

Since we all can’t stay in bed every time it rains, the next best thing is to figure out how to drive safely in rainy weather.

The part of a tire that connects with the pavement is called a contact patch. When it’s dry, the patch flattens to remain in touch with the road. But when it rains, a tire -- especially one with worn tread -- often loses contact with the road and skims along on top of the water.

Beginning at the end of the 20th century, tire manufacturers got better at designing tires with angled tread patterns that allow the water to escape and the tire to better grip the road when it’s wet. Manufacturers have tried a variety of designs for what is known as rain grooves, but this year, Michelin has introduced a tire that beats most of its competitors for a variety of reasons. 


The MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tire with EverGrip™ Technology

The MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tire with EverGrip™ Technology has rain grooves designed with a triangular shape that get wider as the tire wears. It also has a set of 150 additional grooves that are hidden when the tire is new. These grooves along the shoulder of the tire emerge as the tire gets more use. More and wider grooves, pushing water aside, creates better traction.

That’s a big improvement because tires have traditionally lost traction in wet weather as the tread wore down because the narrow grooves got shallower and less able to funnel water away. In recent internal wet-braking tests at 40 MPH to 50 MPH, even well worn MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tires stopped shorter on wet roads than competitors from Goodyear and Bridgestone.**

The MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tire is also made with a rubber compound that is designed to increase grip. The compound is made from an unlikely combination of silica and sunflower oil. The silica helps the tire adhere to the road in wet conditions. The sunflower oil allows the tire to grip wet roads when it is cold.


The MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tire with EverGrip™ Technology


You still have to give MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tires a little love – maintenance is important and so is using your head when you drive in wet weather. Russell Shepherd, a mechanical engineer for Michelin North America, calls himself a “tire nerd” and offers these tips for driving*** when the weather is yucky:

  1. Check the condition of your tires. If it starts to rain and your steering feels loose, or if you slide when you brake, your tires could be losing their grip. Slow down, drive home slowly, and get an expert as soon as possible to check out those tires.
  2. Beware of hydroplaning. If you’re hurrying home in the rain and you put your foot on the gas -- or the brake -- and not much happens, it could be because there’s a layer of water between your tires and the road. That’s hydroplaning and the remedy is to slow down.
  3. Beware wet and dusty.  When it has been extra dry and then it rains, water mixes with oil and dust and creates a particularly slick mess. The solution is the same. Drive slower.
  4. Inspect everything. If all you are doing is giving your tires an occasional quick inspection, they may not look worn. Take the time to look over the whole tire, including the inside, which could be where the wear is. If you have doubts, get help from a tire expert.
  5. Shop smart. MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tires start at $159 a tire and are available in most standard sizes.
  6. Be an early adapter. Choose a tire that is miles ahead of the competition.



** Based on internal wet braking test results from 40 and 50 MPH versus Goodyear® Assurance® TripleTred™ A/S tires in sizes 235/55R17(99H) and P215/60R16(94V), Bridgestone® Turanza™ Serenity Plus in size 215/60R16(95V); using MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tires in sizes 235/55R17(99H) and 215/60R16(95V) buffed to 5/32"of tread. Actual on-road results may vary.