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Michelin Australia : Put Young Drivers under pressure this Easter

The best way to limit the road toll this Easter is to prevent road accidents. And one of the simplest ways to guard against road accidents is to check the pressure and condition of your car's tyres before you drive.

Yet young drivers - the most vulnerable drivers on the road - are the least likely of any age group to check the condition of the tyres on their car.

It's a check that takes only a minute or so, but only 22.6 per cent of surveyed car owners aged 18-24 years believe checking tyre condition and pressure is the most important vehicle safety check.*

A staggering 15 per cent of the same group of 18-24 year olds report having had a tyre-related motor-vehicle accident. That's more than 3 in 20.

In research commissioned by tyre maker Michelin and conducted by Pure Profile Research, 1,000 respondents across Australia answered multiple-choice questions on car ownership, maintenance and personal safety priorities for driving.

More than 70 per cent (71.92%) of 18-24 year olds surveyed nominated checking the oil and water as the most important car safety check to perform before a road trip. (5.48% prioritise a cheap fuel fill up.)

Michelin Australia Managing Director Steven Vette is calling on young drivers - and their parents and friends - to take tyre safety seriously this Easter.   

"It's such a simple thing to walk around your car and check your tyres," says Mr Vette. "The research shows an alarming lack of understanding of one of the simplest ways to prevent accidents. We need everyone to help young drivers understand the importance of this simple car-safety check. Making a habit of checking tyre pressure can save lives."

Michelin's commitment to tyre safety isn't just in creating safe quality products, but also in building the awareness of tyre safety related issues.  The Michelin Group works closely with their tyre retail specialists to promote the importance of regular tyre maintenance, and has initiated the 'Fill up with Air" tyre safety checks", which will continue in 2008. 

Motoring journalist John Cadogan asks drivers to ask themselves this simple question: Would you spend five minutes a week to slash your risk of crashing?

"Tyre industry experts suggest as many as one in four cars is driving around with the pressures dangerously low in at least one tyre," says Mr Cadogan, who runs vehicle-safety website Crash Prevention Australia, writes for Wheels and 4x4 magazines and is a frequent commentator on Channel Nine's A Current Affair.

"Checking your tyre pressures weekly will save you money by reducing wear and it may also save your neck."

Tyres help your vehicle steer, brake and corner. Lack of depth to the tyre treads, incorrect tyre pressure and poor condition contribute to bad handling. Under-inflated tyres:

  • Reduce road-holding capabilities;
  • Increase braking distances on wet surfaces;
  • Are more likely to burst;
  • Wear out faster;
  • And increase fuel consumption (because greater rolling resistance increases the vehicle's energy requirements).

Check your tyres at least once, a month and especially before driving any distance at high speed. It only takes a minute or two. Here's how:

  • Check tyre pressure when tyres are cold. Warm tyres will give you a misleading, higher-pressure reading.
  • Use a tyre gauge to ensure correct pressure. You can purchase gauges at automotive retailers', service stations and tyre dealerships. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Find information on correct tyre pressure in your car owner's manual or on a small plate inside the driver's-side door or glove box.
  • Check the amount of tread left on your tyres. When the tread wears down, small evenly spaced bars appear around the tyre.

March 2008