Pressure takes toll for Easter drivers

More than a quarter of Easter holiday travellers will set off with under-inflated tyres.

A new poll from AA Tyres found that an estimated 8.1 million UK drivers haven’t checked their tyre pressures in the last two months, meaning that a large proportion could be driving around on tyres that give them a poor ride and bad fuel economy.

Of that group, over two million drivers (seven per cent) haven’t assessed their tyre pressures in the last six months – or ever – which means they potentially pose a significant danger to themselves and other road users.

An AA-Populus poll canvassed 20,033 AA members on when they last checked certain parts of their main vehicle. The research found that a much higher proportion of drivers had checked their screenwash levels (56%), windscreen (50%), condition of their bodywork (47%) and lights (43%) than the condition of their tyres in the last two weeks.

In 2015, almost a third (32.6%) of accidents in the UK in which vehicle defects were a contributory factor were due to under inflated, defective or illegal tyres – including 112 serious accidents and 14 fatalities.

Mark Shankland, managing director of AA Tyres, said, ‘It doesn’t take much misuse of brand new tyres to go from safe to dangerous. Checking tyre pressures is the bread and butter of car management, so it’s surprising that over a quarter of UK drivers have failed to do this recently.

‘Sadly the accident figures bear out just how important it is to keep tyres correctly inflated – and just how quickly failing to do so can result in tragedy. On average, even if they are correctly fitted and undamaged, tyres can lose up to two pounds per square inch (PSI) every month – add in the potential of minor damage going unnoticed and you could be running on dangerously low levels before you know it.

‘Failure to make these checks even after a couple of weeks can have significant knock-on effect to your fuel economy and the comfort of your drive – and not least your safety.

‘It’s important to check your tyres every couple of weeks. Before you do, make sure they’re ‘cold’ and haven’t been driven in the last couple of hours. The pressure inside your tyre naturally increases as they heat up, so making an assessment while they are warm could give a false reading. Also use this opportunity to check tread levels and signs of wear, cuts or bulges in the sidewall – which could be a sign that the tyre has sustained internal damage.’