Nearly half of Americans have skidded off the road during winter, Hankook survey reveals

Updated Dec 22, 2016

Today marks the first day of winter and will hopefully serve as a reminder for drivers that still need to winterize their vehicles.

Mindful of plummeting temperatures across the U.S., our friends at Hankook have passed along some tips and results from their winter driving survey, which includes feedback on autonomous winter driving.

Drivers should check fluids, fix heaters and swap tires to make sure their vehicle is ready for the weather. However, only one in five Americans will drive on season appropriate tires to help combat snowy, icy and slushy roads, according to the latest Hankook Gauge Index. There is good reason why drivers are approaching the season with caution, as 49 percent of Americans have reported skidding off the road due to winter conditions.

To help ensure smooth and safe driving this winter, 86 percent of drivers report they alter their driving behavior or “road rules” during the winter season. Findings from the Hankook Gauge Index include:

  • 70 percent of drivers keep a longer distance between their vehicle and other cars on the road when there is snow on the ground
  • 48 percent of Americans will change their driving habits to avoid driving in the dark during the winter months
  • 71 percent of Americans say they are less likely to take a taxi or rideshare service if it’s snowing

While the majority of Americans indicated they are less likely to take a taxi or rideshare service while it’s snowing, the emergence of autonomous cars is no more reassuring. Close to 50 percent of Americans are not at all comfortable with the idea of driverless cars in the snow. In fact, 24 percent of drivers are not comfortable even sharing the road with a driverless car in wintry conditions.

For drivers across the country, Hankook Tire offers drivers the following tips to stay safe on the roads this winter:

  • Dont mix your tires Never mix tires with different tread patterns, performance ratings or sizes. Use identical tires on all of your vehicle’s wheel positions to maintain the best control and stability. In cold temperatures and slick surfaces that require significant grip, a dedicated winter or all-season tire is best for your car. Hankook reports that high-performance winter tires, like its winter i’cept evo2, offer sporty, durable features while providing stability and excellent traction on snow and ice.
  • Stock up – When asked about the essentials kept in the car during the winter, the majority of Americans agree that a snow brush or ice scraper (75 percent), flashlights (66 percent), and blankets (61 percent) are the “go-to” items to stash in the trunk. Hankook also suggests considering items such as jumper cables, a cell phone charger (pocket-sized, back-up batteries for phones are also widely available) sand/salt and flares.
  • Fill your fluids A car’s fuel line can freeze up very easily in the winter, and this usually happens when the gas level is below half a tank. Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up, and check your windshield washer fluid to ensure your front and rear wipers are ready to clear away rain, snow or sleet.
  • Air them up Check the air pressure in your tires regularly because as the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your tires. Count on a decrease of one to two pounds for every 10 degree drop in ambient air temperature.

The Hankook Tire Gauge Index is a quarterly survey of Americans that uncovers their attitudes and opinions about all things related to driving. The winter installment of the survey, conducted Dec. 2 – 4, polled 1,022 randomly selected Americans.

Hankook Tire America Corp. is a growing leader in the U.S. tire market, leveraging investments in technology, manufacturing and marketing to deliver high quality, reliable products that are safer for consumers and the environment. Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., Hankook Tire markets and distributes a complete line of high performance and ultra-high performance passenger tires, light truck, SUV tires, as well as medium truck and bus tires in the U.S.