Millions of Under-Inflated Tires Causing Safety Risks and Wasting Gas; This is National Tire Safety Week

The verdict is in: America needs inflation – for tires.

Under-inflated tires waste gas, wear out faster and are stranding thousands of motorists. AAA Mid-Atlantic helped 76,286 motorists in its Pennsylvania territory, which includes the Wilkes-Barre area, with roadside rescue last year (2011) for tire-related problems. So far this year, the motor club has responded to 25,808 roadside assistance calls for tire problems in its Pennsylvania territory.

A survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, the national trade association for tire manufacturers, show only about one in six vehicles have four properly inflated tires and only 15 percent of drivers know how to properly check tire pressure.

This week marks the 11th annual National Tire Safety Week (June 3-9), an RMA initiative dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of tire care.

Properly inflated tires helps to optimize vehicle safety and fuel economy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that under inflated tires contribute to more than 600 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that under inflated tires wastes more than 1 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

“America needs inflation,” said RMA President and CEO Charles Cannon. “In just five minutes every month, motorists can ensure that their tires are properly inflated which promotes safety, better fuel economy and helps prevent premature wear.”

“Properly inflated tires are essential to keeping you and your family safe on the road,” said Jenny M. Robinson, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Under inflated tires not only wear out faster, but they also require more energy or gasoline from your tank to work properly, leading to more frequent trips to the gas pump. Taking five minutes every two weeks to check your tire pressure can not only save money, but it can also save your life.”

A phone survey of 1,000 U.S. drivers, sponsored by RMA, paints a bleak picture of Americans’ tire care knowledge and practices.

• 62% of drivers don’t know where to find the correct inflation pressure for their vehicle’s tires

• 43% of drivers don’t know that tires should be checked “cold” – before driving, rather than after driving
• 60% of drivers wash their cars once a month, only 15% properly check tire pressure once a month

• 20% of men surveyed vs. 9% of women are “tire smart”

Another RMA-sponsored survey of more than 6,000 vehicles found:

• Only 17% of vehicles had four properly inflated tires.

• 55% of vehicles had at least one under inflated tire.

• 15% of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 8 pounds per square inch (psi).

Solving America’s inflation problem is easy, according to RMA, and only takes five minutes every month. To properly check tire pressure RMA recommends that motorists:

Check tire pressure monthly and before long trips.
Use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure. This information is found on a label on the driver’s side door post or motorists can check their owner’s manual.
Check tires when cold, before driving. Otherwise, tires become warm when driven which increases tire pressure.

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