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Under-inflated tyres threaten car handling control and waste fuel

Bridgestone European’s latest tyre survey shows that  more than six out of 10 (63 per cent) of motorists drive on under-inflated tyres and almost one in five have at least one tyre worn down below the EU legal minimum tread depth.

These results, based on tyre safety checks conducted on 46,000 vehicles in 11 EU countries by Bridgestone during 2011, show that too many motorists are still not taking proper care of their tyres. This conclusion is particularly alarming in summer time, as millions of families in Europe set off in heavily-loaded cars for their longest journey of the year.

As Gert Meylemans, Senior Manager, European Communications Office, Bridgestone Europe, says: “Tyre care is vital for safety, greener motoring and economy. As the summer holiday period approaches, Bridgestone again warns drivers to check their tyre condition and inflation pressure before they leave.”

While most drivers appreciate the dangers of excessive tread wear, far fewer appear to understand that tyres lose pressure naturally over time, like a balloon, and need to be inflated regularly. Failure to do this puts their safety at risk: firstly by reducing handling control and causing vehicle drift; secondly by reducing tyre durability, due to excessive shear stress in the tyre shoulder and heat build-up from sidewall bending. Motorists with severely under-inflated tyres face the threat of tyre failure due to these factors.

The one in five motorists driving on excessively worn tyre treads are taking even bigger risks, and threatening the safety of other road users. These drivers face a general loss of road grip and risk hydroplaning at much lower speeds than normal.