With fewer people flying abroad this year for a holiday more families are, as expected, hitting the roads and opting for a ‘staycation’ somewhere in the UK instead.
But as cars are loaded to the roof lining with suitcases, bags, pushchairs, pets – and not to mention children – worrying new research has shown that most drivers aren’t checking their car’s suitably for the journey ahead.
A new study by automotive repair company Kwik Fit reveals that only one in three drivers (32%) setting off on a family holiday adjusts their tyre pressures to allow for the extra weight of a full load. Wrongly inflated tyres can seriously affect a car’s handling.
Researchers found that families setting off for a UK holiday pack their car with an average of 2.3 suitcases, 2.4 items of hand luggage, 1.4 prams or travel cots and 1.2 bicycles. The average total weight adds up to around 126kg extra for their car, even before accounting for other weighty items such as food, taken by 44% of holidaying families, and beer and wine, packed by 32%.
It’s not just safety that is affected by under-inflated tyres and a heavy car – the increased rolling resistance means that an additional load of 45kg can reduce a car’s fuel economy by 1%.
Kwik Fit’s study also revealed that as well as forgetting to adjust the pressure of their tyres for the extra load, the vast majority of drivers are also neglecting the tyre itself. Only three in ten drivers (30%) say they check their tyre tread before going on a UK family holiday.
“Increasing fuel consumption by a few per cent might not seem much, but with British families expecting to travel an average of 323 miles on their UK holidays, the total extra fuel consumption from underinflated tyres will be significant,” says Roger Griggs, director of communications at Kwik Fit.
“We urge drivers to check their pressures are correct for the car’s load – they will usually be able to find the recommended pressures on a sticker inside the drivers’ door.”