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If I am driving a car in the rain, and want to increase the available traction, should I:

  1. Increase pressure in the tires
  2. Decrease pressure
  3. Leave the pressure set to optimum dry pressure
  4. Increase or decrease just the front or back tires

Does the answer change if the surface has no standing water (i.e. is merely wet)?

And of course, why is your answer correct?

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Increased tire pressure certainly reduces the tendency of the vehicle to hydroplane, that is, to ride on a layer of water. That's not the same thing as contact friction with the road. Once the tire is actually contacting the road and the pressure of the water layer pushing up is not so significant, then pressure does not appreciably affect traction.

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