TPMS and Driving Safety

The Dangers of Driving With Low Tire Pressure

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tires can lose up to half their air pressure before they actually appear to casual observers to be underinflated. Driving with low tire pressure affects your driving safety in two basic ways:

  • Integrity of the tire: Tire pressure literally changes the way the rubber meets the road, affecting traction, handling, steering, stability and braking.
  • Uneven tread wear: Worn tire tread not only affects traction and handling, but also puts you at risk for blowouts–a potentially extremely dangerous event to experience while driving.

Because 75% of roadside flats are preceded by a slow leak or underinflation (www.safecar.gov), it's also important to consider what to do if and when a flat tire occurs. Will it be on a remote highway? At nighttime? In the middle of a busy intersection? In any case, the single best way to avoid the inconvenience, cost, vulnerability and risk of sudden tire failure is to maintain your tire pressure.

That's why checking your tire pressure regularly is so important. And that's how a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) positively affects motorists, by automatically alerting them when sensors detect a tire to be underinflated by 25% or more below the placard tire pressure for the vehicle.

A tire can lose air pressure without appearing to be underinflated.
To see how little difference there is in appearance between a properly inflated and an underinflated tire, use this Interactive Tire Pressure Demo on NHTSA's safercar.gov Web site.

Seeing Is Believing

Bridgestone® filmed the distinct difference in sudden avoidance maneuvers while driving on both properly inflated and underinflated tires.

Related Topics

Talking to Customers About TPMS

Taking the time to talk to your customers about TPMS is one key way to make sure they fully understand the service you're providing–and how TPMS alerts them to low tire pressure so they can stay safe on the roads and...

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What To Do When Your TPMS Light Turns On

When your TPMS warning light comes on, please exercise caution. This means that one or more of your tires may be at least 25% below recommended inflation pressure.

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What is TPMS and How Does TPMS Work?

TPMS stands for tire pressure monitoring system. As its name suggests, a tire pressure monitoring system is more than a single part. In fact, TPMS involves a valve and a sensor, and it's also important to know that not all TPMS systems are created equal. There are two kinds of TPMS technology–indirect and direct.

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