By Denna Bowman
UK drivers have maintained their position as one of the worst tyres safety offenders in Europe, despite a campaign by a leading tyres manufacturer.
Michelin tyres have been running their Fill Up With Air roadshow throughout the summer, but the number of motorists driving on dangerously under inflated tyres has crept up during the past year.
In 2008 the campaign revealed that 35 per cent of motorists were driving around on dangerously under inflated tyres – and this year the figure has eased up to 36 per cent.
Peter Snelling, head of communications for Michelin, said: “This year’s Fill Up With Air campaign figures have, as we predicted, shown a slight deterioration from 2008 which even then positioned us as one of the worst offenders for tyre safety in Europe.
“We believe this downward trend could be partly due to the economic climate as drivers try to save money wherever they can.
“However, this is a false economy in terms of safety and fuel costs. Incorrectly inflated tyres, bald tyres and damaged tyres are dangerous and can lead to fatal crashes and lives must not be sacrificed for the sake of saving a few pounds.
“Also, under-inflated tyres have a serious impact on the environment as cars consume more fuel to overcome the increased rolling resistance.”
The Fill Up With Air tyre safety roadshow, now in its sixth year, took to the roads during summer, visiting 24 cities including Dundee, Manchester and Birmingham to offer drivers a free tyre pressure check and a free fill-up for those with under-inflated tyres.
More than 4,500 cars were checked during the three-month campaign, some 70 per cent more than last year, and only 34 per cent were found to be driving with correctly inflated tyres.
But the most alarming statistic is that six per cent were driving with punctures.
Snelling added: “The Michelin message to Fill Up With Air needs to get through.
“With petrol prices hurting everyone and the overall cost of motoring rising, it makes so much sense to regularly attend to this simple task. Checking and correcting tyre pressures once a month and before long journeys can save lives as well as money.”