March 24th 2016, Beverley Hills –A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811617.pdf) has shown that tire inflation may have more of an influence on car safety than ever before believed. The surprising findings of the study should be a wake-up call for motorists that they need to check their vehicle tire pressures on a regular basis to ensure correct inflation in accordance with vehicle manufacturer guidelines.
The NHTSA research, which used a bank of data collected between 2005-2007, is the largest study of its kind, and its results have been dramatic. One major finding showed that vehicles are three times more likely to be involved in an accident if tires are running at 25% below recommended levels. Similarly, improperly inflated tires was found to be the primary cause in a staggering 5% of all crashes
At the 75% inflation level, the car’s handling can become dangerously unstable, meaning that even confident and experienced drivers are at risk of underestimating their cars handling ability. Depending on the nature of the under-inflation, the vehicle can over-steer or under-steer without any warning. In many states, driving with under-inflated tires is considered negligent driving with clear legal and insurance ramifications in the case of a accident.
Notably, dangerous levels of under-inflation are still not immediately visible upon looking at the tires. Auto-Tec spokesperson Annie Michaels said “many car owners will only test their tire pressure after the tires have failed a “visual inspection”. However, tires can lose a great deal of air pressure and still appear correctly inflated, and the only way to safely and accurately test your tire inflation is to use a properly calibrated tire pressure gauge.”
Under-inflated tires can become dangerous due to the increased surface area of the tire on the road. This leads to an increase in friction that in hot weather can overheat the tires. This can cause permanent damage to the inner lining of the tire though it may not become apparent for some time, even if the tire is later inflated to the correct pressure.
Under-inflated tires cause poor handling and require longer vehicle breaking distances which often takes drivers by surprise leading to accidents and near misses. Statistics from the NHTSA show that under-inflation is a common problem with American cars with around one in three cars driving with at least one tire significantly under the recommended level.
The NHTSA study is an important wake-up call for drivers who put off the important task of checking their tire pressures until it is too late. The best way to be safe on the roads is to check your tires at least once a month and before any long trip.
The Auto-Tec brand is part of the Premier Products Limited, an on-line motoring accessories retailer specializing in bringing quality automotive products to market at affordable prices, underpinned with solid product guarantees. All of their mechanical tire pressure gauges are made according to the ANSI B40.1 Grade B accuracy standard, 100% tested and approved. Auto-Tec gauges are suitable for most passenger vehicles, cars, SUV, RV and motorcycles. The Auto-Tec Professional tire pressure gauge (model AT-TPG-1001) is currently on sale on Amazon at a special Easter holiday price of $12.50 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AAT7OMW