WAYNE, N.J. (Jan. 11, 2016) — Hankook Tire America Corp. has found that winter driving conditions are a concern for American drivers, especially amidst El Niño, the company reported in its latest quarterly Gauge Index survey.
Hankook reported that 32 percent of Northeasterners say they give themselves at least an extra 15 minutes to warm up their cars or dig out of the snow in the morning. Midwest drivers, many of whom deal with similar weather, prepare differently, with only 22 percent giving themselves that much time to dig out.
For many drivers, the ability to see the road is actually less important than having the tools necessary to stay on it, Hankook said. The Gauge found that 56 percent of Americans believe the potential for skidding will keep them home, while 30 percent say that low visibility will keep them off the roads.
Additionally, 52 percent of Americans believe that good tire tread depth is the most important thing a car should have in snow or rain, Hankook said, over working windshield wipers at 30 percent.
“In light of an epic El Niño year, Hankook Tire wanted to better understand how inclement weather affects drivers' behaviors on and off the road,” said Henry Kopacz, public relations and social media manager, Hankook.
“The results from our latest Quarterly Gauge Index were incredibly valuable in helping us determine, not only how Americans approach unfavorable road conditions, but also their sentiment towards general car safety.”
Americans' cars may be ready for adverse winter conditions, but drivers may not be. When asked what is the proper amount of car lengths drivers should keep from the car in front of them on the wintry roads, 60 percent said it should be between two and four. However, AAA recommends keeping a distance of 10 to 12 seconds, which equals six or more car lengths.
Hankook Tire offers the following tips for winter driving:
- Don't 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 in order 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.
- Fill your tank: Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up. A car's fuel lines can freeze up very easily in the winter, and this usually happens when the gas level is below half a tank.
- Air them up: Make sure your tires are properly inflated. As the temperature drops, so does tire inflation, decreasing 1-2 pounds for every 10 degree drop in ambient air temperature.
The Hankook Tire Gauge Index is a quarterly survey of Americans. The winter installment of the survey, conducted Dec. 11, polled more than 1,000 randomly selected Americans on winter driving behaviors and how they prepare for winter and unfavorable driving conditions.