By Denna Bowman
Bridgestone has voiced its concern about the decline in the safety of European drivers due to poor tyre maintenance.
After carrying out more than 28,000 free tyre safety checks across Europe, the tyre manufacturer revealed that an alarming number of motorists of driving on under-inflated or illegal tyres.
According to the data collated by Bridgestonetyres last year:
• 78% of motorists drive on underinflated tyres (compared with 63% in 2011)
• 25% of motorists drive on tyres worn beyond the legal limit (compared with 20% in 2011)
• Financial crisis most likely cause of decline in tyre safety
• Underinflated or worn tyres are both dangerous and uneconomical
• Poor tyres maintenance accounts for billions of litres of wasted fuel and increased CO2 output of 9.2 million tonnes each year
The shocking failings have occurred despite the introduction of the new EU tyre labelling regulation aimed at making roads safer.
The most likely cause of the increase is the economic crisis, rising fuel prices and declining purchasing power, according to Bridgestone.
Nevertheless, Bridgestone warns against the dangers of underinflated and/or worn tyres as incorrect inflation pressure and/or worn tyres compromise safety on the roads by decreasing stability and steering response while increasing braking distances.
Jake Rønsholt, General Manager Corporate & Brand Communications, Bridgestone Europe, warned: “Driving on underinflated tyres is not only dangerous. It is an enormous waste of fuel and the cause of carbon emissions that could easily be avoided by simple, regular checks. Ideally, drivers should check their tyre pressure once a month.
“And while doing so, it is also a good idea to check tread depth and look out for damage or irregular wear at the same time. Some people tend to forget that driving on underinflated and/or worn tyres may considerably impact handling and braking.
“Many see tyres as only black and round, a necessity purchase, but we must always bear in mind that they are the only point of contact with the road, and the size of 4 postcards!”
Ironically, poor tyre maintenance is likely to end up costing more money over time. Underinflated tyres not only wear out faster but are also responsible for an estimated 3.9 billion liters of wasted fuel and 9.2 million tons of unnecessary CO2 emissions per year. Which means increased cost for drivers and society as a whole.
Bridgestone therefore urges motorists to check their tyres regularly, maintain correct inflation pressure and replace worn or damaged tyres before they become a problem.