Americans are hitting the road again as traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels, Hankook Tire found in its latest Gauge Index Survey. As National Tire Safety Week rolls in on busier roads, Hankook revealed the top habits that impact daily driving to better understand potential safety hazards as Americans gear up for summer travel.
Limited maintenance impacts tire safety
While consistent maintenance is among the best ways to uphold the safety and performance of tires and vehicles, 28 percent of drivers admit they either can’t change a tire, or never rotate their tires. Regular rotation helps ensure even wear, which in turn impacts a car’s ride and noise level, as well as the tire’s longevity. Experts recommend rotating tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles driven, though it is important to check the requirements for each specific tire model.
The Gauge did find millennials are most likely to know how to change a tire (only 12 percent claim they can’t), and almost two-thirds (61 percent) own the required tire jack to do it. In fact, two out of every three drivers (64 percent), no matter their age, say they own a tire jack, making it one of the top three car maintenance tools drivers own, in addition to a tire pressure gauge (65 percent) and a set of jumper cables (67 percent).
Americans are distracted drivers
Over two-thirds (64 percent) of Americans admit they multitask while they are driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attentions from driving,” and strongly advises against doing anything besides focusing on the road ahead. Hankook found that the sources of distraction behind the wheel vary:
- 24 percent say they sign at the top of their lungs
- 21 percent eat while driving
- 11 percent admit to texting
- And a few (3 percent) even apply makeup or shave!
Texting is considered among the most concerning distractions by the NHTSA, as sending or reading a text can take one’s eyes off the road for up to five seconds, which is roughly the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
It’s time for a trip back to driving school
The Gauge revealed that one in 10 drivers failed their first driving test, and several others still have habits that might not earn them passing marks. Despite it being the most stressful and practiced part of the driving test for many, 13 percent of drivers today say they can’t parallel park. Furthermore, 14 percent say they brake too harshly or turn too fast, with Gen Z more than twice as likely to admit they turn too fast compared to older generations. In addition to being dangerous, many of these habits can add stress to your tires, reducing traction or wearing a flat spot in the wheels.
Regardless of driving style, it is encouraged to check your tire tread regularly. One easy way to do so is by taking a penny and inserting it face down. If you can see Lincoln’s head, it’s time to consider replacing your tires.
“This year for National Tire Safety Week, Hankook is calling on drivers to recommit to safety, both on the road and in the garage,” said JJ Park, Director of Marketing Strategy, Hankook Tire America Corp. “Our latest Gauge Survey indicated drivers are eager to hit the road again, and as we do, it is increasingly important to ensure that vehicles are maintained for top performance and safety. To help avoid any unforeseen bumps in the road, check your tires before heading out and take your vehicle in for a full inspection if it’s been parked for a while. No matter how far you’re driving, it’s always a good time to keep safety top of mind.”