NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Santa Claus won't be the only one taking a long trip this winter.
More than one in three drivers plan to take road trips of 500 miles or more this season, according to a new survey from Bridgestone Americas Inc. An additional one in three drivers who traveled by car to their holiday destinations in 2019 will do so again in 2020.
That's what makes winter tires so important, according to Jeff Cook, the executive director of marketing strategy and product portfolio planning for Bridgestone Americas.
"Just like the soles of our shoes, tires are designed for different performance needs," Cook said. "Bridgestone encourages all drivers to ensure they are arming their vehicles with the right tires for their lifestyle and travel plans this season."
More than half (54 percent) of drivers who live in regions that frequently experience winter weather have lost control of their vehicle due to snow and ice, the survey found, yet less than a third (28 percent) equip their vehicles with winter tires, which are designed to provide better traction, braking and handling on snow, ice and slush.
Special rubber technology and optimized tread patterns allow winter tires to remain flexible in low temperatures, dig deep into snow and channel away water and slush.
More than half (56 percent) of drivers who live in regions that experience frequent winter weather say they are "very confident," Bridgestone said. Yet the majority said they believe several common myths about winter driving, including that four-wheel drive makes stopping in snow more effective, and that warming up your car prior to driving improves its performance.
Winter tires can provide the increased traction, braking and handling drivers need to conquer wintry conditions and are important for safer driving during the holiday season, Bridgestone said.
The survey also found three in four (76 percent) drivers have lost visibility due to wintry conditions or windshield clouding. To ensure a safe ride this winter, Bridgestone urges drivers to check four important vehicle components at the beginning of the season:
- Wiper Blades: Replace worn wiper blades with new blades to increase visibility. Correct windshield wipers should sit firmly against the windshield and apply even pressure.
- Brakes: An older set of brakes can make stopping on icy roads difficult. Get them checked by an automotive service technician before the weather gets cold.
- Battery: Even new batteries can lose up to 60 percent of their current in freezing weather. Have the battery tested at the beginning of the winter season.
- Tires: For drivers experiencing a regular pattern of ice and snow, winter tires are important. Bridgestone's Blizzak winter tire line "features the latest technological advances for enhanced safety in winter conditions," the company said.