Winter has arrived officially, so it’s time to winterize vehicles if you haven’t done so already.
Mindful of plummeting temperatures across the United States, 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:
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 to maintain the best control and stability. In cold temperatures and on slick surfaces that require significant grip, a dedicated winter or all-season tire is best for your car.
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 vehicle’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 1 to 2 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. Check out the graphic below for more information:
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was prepared by the staff of Hard Working Trucks, another Randall-Reilly publication.