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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Fact-check: Do accidents on Pakistan’s highways result from wrong tyre pressure?

According to a video published on social media, Tyre blowouts are the primary cause of accidents on Pakistani highways during the summer. All vehicles should have their Tyres inflated to 25 pounds per square inch (PSI), the norm used in developed nations.

However, claims like these are false. The following steps can save your life while traveling, as stated by a Facebook user who posted a three-minute video on August 11. I recommend watching this video right away. The narrator then highlighted that many people were dying as a result of Tyres blowing out on the highway, adding that the summer heat increases the air pressure in Tyres.

Additionally, the narrator claimed that all vehicles in industrialized nations should have their Tyres inflated to 25 or 28 PSI following international norms. The video mentioned that people in Pakistan over-inflated their Tyres to save fuel due to their unawareness. On Facebook, the video has garnered 100,000 likes and has been viewed 4.3 million times as of the time of writing. The same video was also posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, with the caption: ‘The true reasons for Tyres exploding on the motorways and highways.’ Over 43,000 people have watched it, and it has been re-posted 551 times.

While it’s true that temperature changes directly affect Tyre air pressure, there is no ideal pressure or established standard because it depends on the manufacturer of the vehicle. This information comes from highway police authorities and a road safety expert. Therefore, it’s inaccurate to state that all cars and vehicles should have their Tyres inflated to 25 to 28 PSI to prevent collisions on the motorway. ‘The allegation is only partially true. It’s accurate that as temperatures rise, Tyre pressure also increases,’ says Dr. Omer Masood Qureshi, the chief consulting scientist at Automotive Design and Crashworthiness Research in Islamabad, who spoke with Geo Fact Check over the phone.

Qureshi also added that Tyres rupture in the country for various reasons. He listed a few of them, including the quality of Tyres, the fact that some are smuggled and damaged in the process, the sale of used or old Tyres in the market, and the installation of incorrect Tyres on vehicles. Saqib Hussain, the head of the motorway police, agreed with Qureshi. Hussain stated over the phone to Geo Fact Check that ‘indeed, in the summer, the air pressure in car Tyres expands.’ However, he refuted the idea that all automobiles should have a single PSI or 25 to 28 PSI. Hussain continued, ‘The appropriate air pressure varies based on the type of vehicle.’

Afterwards, Musab Bukhari, a senior officer of the national motorway and motorway police, was contacted by Geo Fact Check. Bukhari told Geo Fact Check over the phone, ‘While this might be the personal viewpoint and experience of the individual who created this video, it’s not the standard. One significant factor in Pakistani highway accidents is Tyre age. According to Bukhari’s observations, a Tyre’s rubber starts to age more quickly after five years, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

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