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Traffic Safety: Have You Checked Your Tire Pressure Lately?

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A recent survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association shows that 85 percent of Americans aren't checking their tire pressure each month.
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A recent survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association shows that 85 percent of Americans aren't checking their tire pressure each month.

Riding in the passenger seat of a car weaving through cones at 55 miles an hour in a car with properly inflated tires is pretty exciting. But drop the tire pressure just 20 percent, and things become scary. With each turn, the car feels dangerously close to flipping over, and this one probably would have without an expert sheriff's deputy at the wheel.

Charles Cannon is the president and CEO of the Rubber Manufacturers Association. He says it's clear that most Americans aren't getting the message about proper tire pressure. A recent survey conducted by the group showed that while two-thirds of Americans wash their car at least once a month, 85 percent aren't checking their tire pressure each month.

"So they have nice, shiny, bright cars, but tens of millions of tires screaming for air," he says.

And while safety is the main concern, fuel economy is at stake as well. Kathleen Marvaso of AAA says proper inflation can improve fuel economy by up to 3 percent.

"That can translate into a difference of 12 cents for every gallon of fuel that you use," she says.

NHTSA says a common mistake is trying to "eyeball" tire pressure. Everyone needs a good tire gauge.

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