NOKIA, Finland—European motorists are as negligent as Americans about driving with underinflated or worn tires, according to a new survey by Bridgestone Corp.
The tire maker found when it performed 28,000 free tire safety checks in Europe last year that a "staggering" 78 percent of the vehicles were found to have underinflated tires, while more than a quarter had tires that were worn beyond the legal limit.
Those figures are 25 percent higher than in a 2011 survey, Bridgestone said.
The tire maker suggested the likely cause of the increase is the economic crisis, rising fuel prices and declining purchasing power. However, Bridgestone warned against the dangers of underinflated and worn tires, citing them as a safety risk on the road by decreasing stability and steering response, while increasing braking distances.
A study by the Rubber Manufacturers Association last June showed 83 percent of U.S. vehicles on the road had at least one underinflated tire.