NASHVILLE, Tenn.Only about one in five drivers who live in the U.S. snowbelt will be riding on winter tires this season, according to an online survey commissioned by Bridgestone Americas and fielded by Harris Interactive Inc.
The results of our survey suggest many U.S. drivers are not as prepared as they could be for winter's worst, said Robert Saul, senior product manager, Bridgestone Americas.
Conditions on the road can change rapidly in the winter season. Winter tires are a smart choice, because they have specialized technology that is optimized for traction, braking and handling on cold, icy and snow-covered roads.
The Harris Poll, conducted in September, shows that 84 percent of those surveyed said they plan to prepare their cars for winter weather and a quarter of those said they already have winter tires mounted or plan to do so.
In winter conditions, how you drive matters just as much as having the right type of tires on your vehicleboth 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 inputbraking, steering and accelerating.
Bridgestone noted 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:
c 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.
c 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.
c 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).
Among those who said they have driven in winter weather, 29 percent said 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 statesNew York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, Bridgestone said.