By Oliver Hall
Millions of US motorists are putting their safety at risk by driving on bald tyres, according to a new survey.
A worrying 11 per cent of around 7,000 vehicles that were checked were found to have at least one of their tyres bald, which can increase the risk of a crash particularly in wet weather conditions.
According to AAA, an estimated 33.2 million motorists will take to the road for during the next few weeks and that means nearly 4 million motorists could be at risk by driving on bald tyres.
Additional alarming statistics revealed in a national motorist phone survey earlier this year found that 64% of car owners did not know how to check tread depth and 9% never check tread depth.
The surveys were sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the national trade association of tyre manufacturers in the U.S.
The RMA is urging motorists to regularly check tyre tread depth and replace worn out tyres before they become a serious safety risk.
“In this bad economy, drivers may be delaying necessary vehicle maintenance to save costs,” said Charles Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “But that delay may cost you more dearly if worn out tyres lead to a crash with injuries or fatalities.”
He added: “Your tyres literally keep your vehicle attached to the road,” Cannon said. “Bald tyres are dangerous because they cannot grip the road properly, they increase stopping distances and can contribute to skidding or loss of vehicle control.”
Under wet weather conditions, bald tyres can hydroplane – when the tyre is riding on a film of water – which can lead to a loss of vehicle control and increase the risk of a crash.