AKRON, Ohio, November 10, 2010 -- While drivers across Europe believe tires are very important to road safety, many of them do not know the importance of selecting the right tires or of performing basic tire maintenance, according to a new survey.

The survey conducted in seven countries by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s European business, revealed that motorists put having correct tires on their car second only to not drinking and driving in terms of its importance to road safety, with 82 percent of respondents stating that “having tires in good condition and properly inflated” was “very important” to their safety when driving.

Stating that tires are important, however, does not necessarily mean that drivers have crucial knowledge about tires, or that they put this knowledge into practice. The survey results suggest that many European drivers underestimate the link between tire choice and road safety: one respondent in three admitted knowing “little or nothing” about how tires influence their vehicle’s stopping distance or impact their grip on the road.

Additionally, 73 percent of respondents said they know the appropriate tire pressure for different driving conditions, but almost half did not know when to check tire pressure (when the tires are cold).  Moreover, more than one respondent in three admitted they continue to drive as normal on worn tires. 

In other results, the survey found that German drivers are regarded as Europe’s safest.  Almost one fifth of respondents identified Germans as the safest drivers in Europe.  This was followed by Sweden with nine percent and the English with six percent.

Italians were seen as the most exuberant among European motorists with 20 percent citing Italy as the country with the most dangerous drivers.  Italy was followed by France, with 6 percent, Greece and Romania.  The most cautious drivers were said to be in Germany and Sweden.

According to the survey results, 83 percent of Italian drivers (compared to the average of 77 percent in other countries) said they often drive more than 20 kilometers per hour (12.4 mph) above the posted speed limit on a road with which they are very familiar.

The study of 3,500 drivers in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK was carried out August 31-September 9. Interviews were conducted in the local language of each country.

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies.  It employs approximately 70,000 people and manufactures its products in 56 facilities in 22 countries around the world.  Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry.  For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com.