Nick, I am glad you survived the tire blow out. That had to be a harrowing experience.
Here is why I think everyone should have a tire pressure monitor:
IMHO this life threatening tire blowout (see the links below) may have been prevented if a tire pressure monitor that displays the actual tire pressure or a monitor that displays temperature had been used.
I use the Pressure Pro, and I am sure there are others which can display the tire pressure as well. The way I use my tire pressure monitor is every day before driving off I check the cold pressure to be sure no tire is low but not low enough to trigger an alarm. After 5-10 minutes of travel the tires are warm/hot from travel and they all read within zero to 4 pounds of each other, assuming you started with about the same pressure in each tire. As I travel I check the pressure whenever I think about it usually every 15 to 45 minuets. If any tire has a change in pressure, I know there is a problem.
I am especially aware of a pressure increase. That means to me the tire is getting hotter that the others.
An increase in pressure could be caused by a slipped belt in the tire which may have been what happened to Nick Russell before his front tire blew out. In Nick's blog he mentions hearing a pop or noise he investigated several minutes before the blow out. An increase in pressure would have confirmed there was something wrong even though there was no visible indication of a tire failure.
More details of the blowout: http://gypsyjournal.net/NicksBlog.htm
and scroll down to Thursday, November 29, 2007 entry.
From personal experience, I used tire pressure to warn me of a problem which turned out to be a broken spring on my 5th wheel. I may not have noticed the problem until the axel slipped forward or back and caused damage or loss of control.
While traveling one day I noticed that one tire had an increase in pressure. I pulled over at my earliest convenience, in the rain, but didn't see anything obviously wrong. Once we got to our destination, some 30 miles farther, I investigated further and found one leaf spring had broken on both the front and rear of the leaf spring. The entire leaf spring was not attached to the support brackets. As far as looking at the tires w/o going under the trailer, the only indication of a problem is that on the side with the broken spring the space between the tires on front and rear axels was about 1 inch apart. On the side w/o the broken spring the spacing was about two inches.