“In winter conditions, how you drive matters just as much as having the right type of tires on your vehicle — both are absolutely key,” said Mark Cox, director of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
“I tell students at my school to remember to do only one thing at a time when they're driving on snow and ice-covered roads,” he said. “For example, if you're braking, you shouldn't also attempt to turn the vehicle at the same time. Use all grip available for each input — braking, steering and accelerating.”
Bridgestone notes that all tire rubber will begin to stiffen as temperatures drop below freezing, but the latest generations of winter tires maintain their elasticity even at extremely low temperatures.
All-season tires are designed with both winter and summer performance in mind, but do not offer maximum performance in either season.
Other findings of the survey:
16 percent of U.S. drivers who have driven in winter weather have received formal winter driving education from a driving instructor, while two-thirds said they taught themselves.
Half of U.S. residents age 18 and older have witnessed and/or been involved in a vehicle accident that was caused by winter driving conditions.
76 percent are performing some sort of vehicle maintenance to prepare for winter weather, such as checking fluid levels (62 percent), windshield wipers (61 percent), tire pressures (60 percent), battery (51 percent) and brakes (46 percent).
Bridgestone encourages drivers to remember the four Bs — battery, brakes, blades and Blizzak winter tires — when prepping for winter.
Among those who said they have driven in winter weather, 29 percent say the experience is as unpleasant as shoveling their driveway or sidewalk; 26 percent find it as frustrating as waiting in Black Friday lines; and 24 percent equate the experience to pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads, according to the survey.
The survey was conducted online between Sept. 25 and 29 among 2,031 adults aged 18 and over; 576 of those surveyed live in snowbelt states — New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Vermont.