NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 2, 2015) ― A recent survey of Americans' driving habits over the winter holiday season indicates they'll be driving a lot more — but only a quarter of drivers in Snowbelt states already have installed or plan to install winter tires.
The online survey, commissioned by Bridgestone Americas and fielded by Harris Poll in October, shows Americans log a combined national average of 25 billion miles on the road to visit family and spend a combined average of $52 billion on travel during the holiday season, based on a calculation from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 census. But 26 percent of them are lacking in the winter tire department.
“Many Americans are traveling for the holidays, but most haven't fully prepared their vehicles to take on challenging winter driving conditions,” according to Chris Welty, Bridgestone tire education specialist. “Winter tires are built specially to give drivers better grip, stopping power and more control in snow, slush and ice. The thin layer of water on the road from ice or melting snow can be very dangerous, and winter tires are designed to clear that icy water and grip the road.”
Although drivers will average about 147 miles on their way to visit family members during the holiday season, Nashville-based Bridgestone said “many Americans are troubled by the freezing temperatures and treacherous driving conditions that accompany the start of winter. Seventy-one percent of drivers admit they are nervous to drive when it's icy, and many also are nervous to drive during heavy fog (52 percent), heavy rain (48 percent), sleet (47 percent) and snow (45 percent).”
According to the company's survey, when Americans were asked what they dislike in general about the winter season, driving issues topped the list — specifically icy roads (59 percent) and other motorists who drive dangerously (55 percent). Other major dislikes include heating bills (47 percent), removing snow and ice from their vehicles (43 percent) and…wait for it…cold feet (38 percent).
“It's clear from our survey findings that Americans are worried about driving in winter weather,” Mr. Welty said. “Making the switch to winter tires can help ensure that drivers feel confident in every winter driving condition — whether they are headed to Grandma's house this holiday or sticking closer to home. The holiday season can be stressful, but hitting the road in winter weather doesn't have to be.”
Bridgestone said the survey also found that most of those who currently own a vehicle (74 percent) prepare for winter by checking tire pressure (48 percent), windshield wipers (46 percent) or fluid levels (45 percent).
The tire maker suggested that in preparing a vehicle for winter weather, drivers observe the “four B's” — battery, brakes, blades and, of course, Bridgestone's own Blizzak winter tires.
The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of Bridgestone from Oct. 14-16 among 2,072 adults ages 18 and older. Bridgestone noted that the survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of sampling error can be calculated.