NEW YORK — Winter is fast approaching, and with it comes slippery roads, reduced visibility, and snow-covered windshields for the morning commute. With seasonal weather in mind, a new survey asked 2,000 Americans about how they approach cold weather behind the wheel. Incredibly, 91% of American drivers don’t think others on the road know how to drive safely in the winter.
According to the survey, commissioned by Discount Tire, 23% of drivers don’t even trust their own friends and family members to drive safely on winter roads. As for their own abilities to navigate the snow and ice, 64% said they’re a safe driver throughout the winter season, but 59% also admitted they are less confident driving during the winter than other seasons.
Thankfully, more than 90% of the survey respondents said they are confident driving in the rain, and 76% believe they drive safely in snow or sleet storms. However, only 55% said they feel confident driving over icy roads.
All of that self-doubt leads to many people opting to stay home instead of braving icy roads. In all, 48% avoid errands, 44% reschedule long drives, and 42% avoid traveling to particular destinations because of winter weather.
For many, the fear of winter driving is warranted; 22% of respondents said they have been in a car accident as a result of winter weather or slippery roads.
Despite these concerns, many say driving on winter roads is unavoidable. For instance, 65% said they plan to drive somewhere for the holidays, with the longest trip averaging around three and a half hours.
While 92% of respondents said they feel knowledgeable regarding how to drive in winter weather, the survey results paint a different picture. A significant 35% didn’t even know they shouldn’t stop on hills when roads are icy. Meanwhile, 30% didn’t know they should avoid cruise control, and 24% weren’t aware they should accelerate and decelerate more gradually than normal on snowy or icy roads.
For whatever reason, 79% did in fact know that the temperature outside affects their tire pressure. Also, 54% were aware of the exact correlation: for every 10 degree drop in temperature, tires lose one pound of air pressure.
On a positive note, seven out of 10 respondents said they work to make sure their car is prepared for winter each year. Among those preparations, the most common was checking tire pressure (85%), followed by checking wiper blades (80%), checking tire treads (79%), keeping their gas tank at least half full (78%), and testing their battery (59%).
Another 53% said they plan on having their tires checked by a professional before the next big snowfall, and half said they had used specialized winter tires on their car in years past.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.