You have probably heard the phrase ‘walking on air’ meaning a very happy frame of mind. But when you are driving (irrespective of your frame of mind), you are actually riding on air. The inside of your tyre contains compressed air, which supports the weight of your car and also absorbs vibrations, cushioning your ride.
The pressure of the air in your tyres is crucial because it not only affects the vehicle performance, but is critical from a safety point of view.
Thus checking tyre pressure is both vital and important.
Unfortunately, several motorists take tyre pressure for granted.
Some Shocking Statistics
According to a survey conducted by the RAC Foundation, 2 million motorists in the UK never check their tyre pressure. The survey further discovered that half the women drivers and a majority of young drivers do not know the recommended tyre pressures of their vehicles. The Tyre Industry Council found that at least 90% of the cars tested as part of a tyre safety campaign had under inflated or over inflated tyres.
These statistics become all the more chilling when taken in conjunction with this one – 75% of all accidents caused by tyre blowouts are attributable to incorrect tyre inflation.
It does seem a shame that so many accidents and injuries (some fatal) are occurring when the solution is as simple as checking your tyre pressure regularly.
Dangers of Improper Tyre Inflation – Why Checking Tyre Pressure is Vital
Over inflated tyres have a reduced surface contact patch. As less of the tyres touch the surface, you experience greater bouncing and ride comfort goes for a toss. Not good news for your back and spine surely, particularly if you have a long commute every day.
Also grip reduces, as the contact patch has been compromised and you would find it more difficult to steer and brake. So all in all, your control on the car is compromised. Not a very appealing prospect, is it?
With under inflated tyres, the risks are even higher. Having the exact opposite effect as over inflated tyres, the under inflated tyres have a greater than normal contact area with the driving surface. This increases friction and generates more heat, increasing the chances of a tyre blow out. Again, the increased friction can affect your ability to steer the car as precisely as you would like to.
Why Checking Tyre Pressure is Important
Well if you have not (yet) been motivated by the above ‘life-saving’ reasons to maintain optimal tyre pressure in your car, here are some more reasons.
Improperly inflated tyres wear out faster. And you will need to buy new tyres at very frequent intervals.
When air pressure in your tyres is not at the recommended levels, the fuel consumption is higher. Handy hint: if you are finding yourself at the fuel pumps all too often, it is time to check the tyre pressure.
And oh, yes, if you are a bit of an environmentalist, you will be happy to note that driving on tyres with the right air pressure optimises fuel consumption and reduces carbon dioxide emissions. Thus you are doing your bit for the environment.