Millions of UK motorists are putting their life at risk because their tyres are dangerously under-inflated, according to a new study.
Government statistics show that 6% of all fatal motorway accidents are caused by under-inflated tyres.
Now Michelin says its research has found that 50% of British cars have under-inflated tyres which are ‘dangerous and at risk of causing accidents’.
Its year-long study also found that as many as 80% of cars are also running incorrect tyre pressures.
Michelin checked the tyre pressure of thousands of vehicles across 27 EU countries – including 2,300 in the UK – during its ‘Fill up with Air’ campaign.
Figure for fatal motorway accidents caused by under-inflated tyres
The UK ranked a dismal 25th out of 27, with only Greece and Latvia having a worse record.
Michelin spokesman Peter Snelling said: ‘It is the responsibility of every motorist to check and adjust their tyre pressures regularly. It is not an expensive or complicated task and only takes a couple of minutes each week.
‘As well as the safety risks of half the cars running on dangerously under-inflated tyres, a typical pressure of 10 psi below recommended levels will have the equivalent effect of adding 3p to the cost of a litre of petrol or diesel.
‘This is a totally unnecessary cost for motorists, and it’s the same for the environment. With inadequate pressure fuel consumption increases greatly, in turn leading to an extra 5.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases emitted each year in the UK. This is an unacceptable penalty imposed on our environment through apathy.’
Which? Car Editor Richard Headland said: ‘Michelin’s research is the latest study to show how few of us regularly check tyre pressures.
‘The message is clear – check your tyres every week or two to cut your fuel bills and reduce avoidable accidents.
‘Don’t put off replacing worn tyres either. Use our independent tyre tests to help find the best rubber for your car – come back on Thursday 28 February to see results for 35 new tyres.’