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The tyre tread pattern is primarily there to improve handling on wet roads while not compromising too much on dry handling and braking ability.
The best tyres for gripping dry, flat roads are soft rubber slicks.
Except for odd occasions and racetracks, road surfaces are rarely dry, flat or smooth. This means that general road tyres need to be able to handle a variety of surfaces and hard wearing.
A harder rubber compound is used to make the tyre last longer and cope with more abrasive road surfaces. In order to grip the road and provide traction; the tyre surface needs a series of grooves or channels to allow water to move away from the tyre - road contact area and resist aquaplaning.
Tyre Width A wide tyre and narrow tyre will not disperse water in exactly the same way. Similarly, a tread pattern that disperses water when your car is travelling in a straight line may struggle to maintain grip when handling the lateral cornering forces.
Tyre manufacturers have invested millions of pounds in research to find the optimal tyre design for road performance and road noise reduction. This has lead to tyre designers moving away from the traditional block pattern tyres towards high performance tyres with circumferential grooves and tread bands. These modern tyre patterns are designed to offer different noise and handling characteristics across the tread of a tyre. Looking at these modern tyres the patterns are often asymmetric and directional.