New Jersey and most other states consider a tire tread depth of at least 2/32nds of an inch to be legal. But AAA/Mid-Atlantic takes a different point of view.

Spokeswoman Tracy Noble said AAA recommends that your tire tread contain at least 4/32nds of an inch. She said good tires that are not worn downareis especially important in the rain.

 

"When we talk about traffic safety and vehicle technology, we are all very aware of the life-saving measures of seat belts and airbags and the different driver assist technologies that we have on our car. But our tires are what keep us safe and what keep us connected to the roadway," she said. "And that is often something that we do not think enough about. And if you have bald tires, the tire is not doing that job efficiently."

Stopping distances increase on worn tires. Noble said there is a good rule of thumb for measuring tire tread depth, using pocket change.

"If you insert a quarter  with Washington's head upside down, you should not see all of Washington's head," she said.

Proper tire inflation is also crucial in not only getting the most out of a set of tires, but also in making sure they wear properly over time.

"It is very important to know what your vehicle recommends," Noble said. Motorists should refer to the door panel for the vehicle recommendations on the driver's side, usually on the door panel. And if they are not found there, they are in the driver's owner's manual."

AAA said with road trips and vacations coming up, it's a good time to consider tire condition.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

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