Michelin's latest survey reveals alarming double standards among the country's 33 million motorists: while the majority of drivers consider tyre pressures "very important" to vehicle safety, 50% are content to rely on checks once a month. Of the total, 30% rely on services for pressure checks or limit them to long journeys and 5% admit to never checking tyre pressures.

"It seems that while the message about safety has hit home, drivers are less vigilant when it comes to ensuring the right pressures," comments Michelin's Ian Hughes. "We also found that while 88% of drivers relate correct tyre pressures directly to fuel economy, this knowledge is again not supported by action."

The NOP Automotive quantitative survey was conducted in October. Eighty-three per cent of the sample agreed that correct tyre inflation is very important to safety and it was clear that the rating of importance rises with the age of the respondents, i.e. this increased to 90% for the 65-plus age group.

Air Line Service to Motorists

Fifty-one per cent of respondents have experienced faulty air lines at garages, 41% have not and the remainder have never attempted to check pressures in this way. Of the total, 13% have encountered problems ‘frequently’ or ‘very frequently’, underlining a need to improve the standard of this essential service to all drivers. Even when the apparatus is working, 36% of drivers doubted the accuracy of the pressure gauges.

The most popular places to check tyre pressures were found to be car repair garages (35%), petrol stations (28%), the workplace and at home - a surprising 26% of drivers have their own pressure gauge (32% male and 18% female).

"We recommend drivers check their tyres at least every fortnight and always before long journeys,” continued Mr Hughes. "Correct tyre pressures are directly related to road safety, fuel economy and longevity and can affect grip, braking distance, cornering and resistance to aquaplaning. What is needed now is for Britain’s motorists to match their actions to their awareness."