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 begins, 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
The survey indicates while consistent maintenance is among the best ways to uphold the safety and performance of tires and vehicles, 28% 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, Hankook says.
The Gauge did find millennials are most likely to know how to change a tire (only 12% claim they can’t), and almost two-thirds (61%) own the required tire jack to do it. In fact, two out of every three drivers (64%), 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%) and a set of jumper cables (67%).
Americans are distracted drivers
Over two-thirds (64%) 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% say they sing at the top of their lungs
- 21% eat while driving
- 11% admit to texting
- And a few (3%) 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% of drivers today say they can’t parallel park. Furthermore, 14% 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, the company says.
Regardless of driving style, encourage your customers to check your tire tread regularly, Hankook says. 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 one’s tires.