Under-Inflated Tires Costly in More Ways Than One
According to a recent report, more than a quarter of automobiles and about a third of light trucks on U.S. roadways have one or more tires under-inflated by at least 8 pounds per square inch (psi) below the level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Vehicles with under-inflated tires can exhibit handling problems that cause crashes resulting in fatalities and serious injuries. Under-inflated tires impact a driver’s ability to control a vehicle against skidding, blowouts, and other tire failures. While not a leading cause of highway accidents and fatalities, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study shows that, in 1999, under-inflated tires contributed to 247 fatalities and 23,100 injuries. In addition, NHTSA estimates that 41 vehicular-related deaths occur annually because of tire blowouts from under-inflated tires.
What’s more is, the fuel economy of vehicles driving on under-inflated tires is lower. The Department of Energy estimated that passenger cars and light trucks in 2005 wasted about 1.2 billion gallons of fuel as a result of driving on under-inflated tires. At $2.50 per gallon, that’s some real money!
A decrease in tire pressure can be caused by poor maintenance, driving habits, punctures, road conditions, and the quality of material used in tire construction. According to tire experts, under normal driving conditions, air-filled tires can lose from 1 to 2 psi per month as air permeates the tires.
So, make sure your employees are driving on fully-inflated tires. Have them get into the habit of checking tire pressure monthly, whether on company or personal vehicles. Many gas stations have air fill stations available for your use. The car owner’s manual should tell you the proper tire pressure for your vehicle. Having the proper air pressure will not only help save you a few dollars at the pump, it could save a life.