WASHINGTON—National Tire Safety Week is May 24-30, just as more than 33 million U.S. motorists hit the road for Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of the summer season, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
However, many of those drivers will waste gas and endanger themselves by driving on worn or underinflated tires, the RMA said.
“No road trip should start without first checking tire pressure and inspecting tires for damage and insufficient tread depth,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs, in a May 20 press release announcing National Tire Safety Week.
Lower gas prices have removed some motivation for motorists to check tire pressures, the RMA said. A 2015 RMA survey showed drivers to be less concerned than in 2014 about gas mileage, and half of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 29 said they weren't concerned about gas mileage at all.
However, driving safety and tire service life remain crucial reasons for drivers to get in the habit of regular, monthly tire maintenance, the RMA said. The association's latest survey showed that:
• 83 percent of drivers didn't know how to properly check tire pressure;
• One-third of drivers didn't know that tires should be checked “cold,” or before driving;
• 35 percent of drivers didn't know how to check if tires are bald;
• Nearly 60 percent of drivers didn't check inflation pressures in their spare tires;
• 40 percent of drivers thought you can tell if a tire is underinflated just by looking at it; and
• Half of all drivers didn't know the correct inflation pressure for their tires is found in the label on a vehicle's driver side door or in the owner's manual, not the tire sidewall.
For the past 14 years, the RMA has sponsored National Tire Safety Week as part of its “Be Tire Smart—Play Your P.A.R.T” consumer education program. During the week, thousands of participating tire dealerships and independent auto repair shops across the U.S. will offer free tire inflation checks, “Be Tire Smart” safety brochures and community outreach programs to promote tire safety.