By Andrew Williams,
Its official, we are amongst the worst drivers in the world when it comes to maintaining tyre pressures.
A year-long study by Michelin has revealed that the percentage of tyres run on incorrect tyre pressure, in Great Britain, was as high as 80%. The study further revealed that the tyre pressure in 50% of tyres is dangerously low.
The French tyre giant checked the pressure in thousands of vehicles in 27 European countries, and the results reveal that the UK is ranked at an appallingly low 25th. Only Greece and Latvia came lower than Britain.
The most worrying aspect of the British Motorist?s indifference is one of safety. Peter Snelling, head of communications at Michelin UK, states: “According to Department for Transport statistics 6 per cent of all fatal motorway accidents are caused by under-inflated tyres.? The survey also revealed that one in eight motorists (13%) were driving on at least one puncture.
There are also financial and environmental implications to our lackadaisical attitude. A typical tyre, running on a pressure of 10psi below recommended levels effectively adds 3p per litre to the running costs of a car. This increase in fuel consumption has a marked effect on the environment, adding an extra 5.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.
Michelin’s research was part of the company?s ?Fill up with Air? campaign, and saw more than 2,300 cars inspected across the UK. Of the cars tested, 36 per cent were found to have at least one tyre between 7 and 12 psi below the recommended pressure level, and 15 per cent were at least 14psi or more below the specified level – which is as much as 50 per cent below the correct pressure.
It is remarkable that something as simple as checking tyre pressures could have such a profound effect on our safety, our finances and the environment, and yet the public is not prepared to take a couple of minutes each month to check their tyres.
The Michelin ?Fill up with Air? campaign will run throughout 2008, with dates and venues to be announced shortly.