Pump it up! Mancunians wasting money and risking lives with under-inflated tyres

Motorists in Manchester are wasting over £1 million on fuel each year and putting lives at risk through poor tyre maintenance, new research has uncovered.

Michelin, the French tyre manufacturer, believes that attitudes to tyre safety across Greater Manchester are not improving despite eight years of running events aimed at educating drivers.

Based on information from the Department for Transport published last year, Michelin believes around 50,305 drivers on Manchester’s congested roads could be running on dangerous tyres.

The company’s analysis of results on more than 23,700 vehicles at its roadshows found that 37 per cent had at least one tyre was between seven and 14psi below the manufacturer’s recommendation, classed as “dangerously underinflated”, or more than 14psi below, classed as “very dangerously” underinflated.

Jamie McWhir, car, van and 4×4 technical manager for Michelin UK, said: “The proportion of cars with dangerously underinflated tyres has pretty much stayed the same over the years we have been running our “Fill Up With Air” events and there’s no reason to believe that Manchester should be significantly better than the national average.

“This means motorists in the area could be wasting money and putting lives at risk in the process as seriously underinflated tyres are dangerous, use more fuel, wear out quicker and can cause the car to produce more pollutants and greenhouse gases.”

As well as costing Greater Manchester motorists £1.08m through poor fuel consumption, underinflated tyres also produce 2,288 tonnes of excess CO2 in the region.

The latest revelations come as campaign group TyreSafe and Highways England estimated last month that more than 10 million tyres in use on roads in Great Britain could be illegal despite vehicles and tyres becoming more technologically advanced.

As well as reducing tyre life, underinflated tyres hamper road-holding, braking, steering, as well as resistance to aquaplaning in wet weather.

But Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, believes that Britain’s motorists are failing to perform basic checks before setting off and an urgent improvements are needed.

He said: “As vehicles have become increasingly reliable, owners have become less used to performing what were once considered basic precautionary checks before setting off on a journey.

“Tyres, too, are much more technologically advanced, but they do wear and can get damaged so it is down to the driver to regularly check they’re safe

“Awareness among Britain’s motorists of the importance of tyre safety urgently needs to improve.”

With 32 million cars on the UK’s roads, the Department for Transport reported in 2013 that dangerous tyres were responsible for 40 per cent of deaths where vehicle defeat was the cause.

And Mr McWhir believes that it is crucial that motorists are aware of the importance of tyre safety before getting behind the wheel.

He added: “It’s crucial that motorists understand the importance of driving on tyres with the correct pressure, especially as they’re the only point of contact with the road and are therefore critical to the safety of the vehicle, its passengers, other road users and pedestrians.

“Last year the Department for Transport found that dangerous tyres were responsible for more than 40 per cent of vehicle defect related deaths.

“It is so important to fit tyres of a sufficient quality and then look after them properly.”

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