Hankook Tire Unveils 2012 Fall Gauge Index Results

Key findings include biggest distractions for American drivers, top reasons for fall road trips, and tire changing habits

Sep 24, 2012, 11:20 ET from Hankook Tire America Corp.

WAYNE, N.J., Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans will be logging plenty of miles this fall, but their eyes may not be focused on the road in front of them. Despite many recent PSA announcements and news articles on the dangers, drivers say texting is their number one distraction while on the road, according to the Hankook Tire 2012 Fall Gauge Index.

Generation Y is the biggest offender; 28 percent of respondents aged 18-35 stated that texting was their greatest distraction when driving, compared to 15 percent of respondents 35-54 years old, and 7 percent of those 55 and up.

In addition to texting, talking to other passengers (13 percent), talking on mobile phones (10 percent) and eating/drinking (7 percent) were noted as other distractors while on the road.

Hitting the road and back to school safety

With leaves turning and temperatures dropping, the fall season means family visits, football games, college homecoming festivities, and Thanksgiving get-togethers. More than half (56 percent) of Americans surveyed are planning to take a road trip this fall, with 84 percent of those road trippers driving 500 miles or more to reach their destination. The number one single reason cited for fall travel? Thanksgiving (20 percent).

Adding to peoples' mileage this fall is the back to school routine of shuttling kids to school, sports practices, and extracurricular activities. The good news – with school back in session, 37 percent of drivers say they're more careful driving this time of year. And, 41 percent of those surveyed stated that they drive more carefully on Halloween when kids are out 'trick or treating.'

Dads – Experts in changing tires

With all this driving, Americans are proving to be knowledgeable when it comes to changing their wheels. Consistent with the 2011 Summer Gauge Index which revealed that 70 percent of drivers were confident in changing a flat tire, this survey found that 71 percent know how to change a flat tire. Of those, 93 percent are males and 48 percent are females.

Who taught them to change a flat?  More than half of respondents (53 percent) said that they learned how to change a tire from their dad, distantly followed by seven (7) percent who picked up the skill in a Driver's Ed class.

While the majority of Americans know how to change a tire, not everyone is offering to stop and help others in need of that service. Sixty-one (61) percent have never stopped to help someone change a tire and only 29 percent of those aged 18-35 have stopped. Interestingly, West Coasters have been more likely to stop and help. Forty-four (44) percent of those on the West Coast have stopped, compared to 33 percent of Midwesterners and 38 percent of those in the Northeast.

Tire maintenance habits remain strong

Drivers continue to take care of their tires. Sixty-one (61) percent of Americans have checked their tire pressure in the past month. This is consistent with last year's findings, which found 63 percent had done so. Ninety-seven (97) percent agree that correct tire pressure keeps them safe and 94 percent agree that correct tire pressure saves them money.

The Hankook Tire Gauge Index is a quarterly survey of Americans that uncovers their attitudes and opinions about all things related to driving. The fall installment of the survey, conducted August 22-23 by Vision Critical, on behalf of Hankook Tire America Corp., polled 1,010 randomly selected Americans on fall driving and what is on their minds as the season approaches. Additional findings from the survey include:

  • 31 percent of Americans have driven on Route 66
  • 51 percent have driven along Route 66 in Arizona and 46 percent in California
  • 43 percent say the strangest place they've stopped to help someone change a tire is on the side or in the breakdown lane of the highway

About Hankook Tire America Corp.

Hankook Tire America Corp. is a growing leader in the U.S. tire market, leveraging investments in technology, manufacturing and marketing to deliver high quality, reliable products that are safer for consumers and the environment. Headquartered in Wayne, N.J., Hankook Tire markets and distributes a complete line of high performance and ultra-high performance passenger tires, light truck, SUV tires, as well as medium truck and bus tires in the United States.

SOURCE Hankook Tire America Corp.