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Hankook Tire Gauge Index Shows Decline in Summer Driving

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WAYNE, NJ--July 9, 2013: Defined by school vacations and warm weather, summer is often synonymous with getting outside and hitting the open road with friends and family. However, this year's Hankook Tire Summer Gauge Index found that the number of Americans planning to take a road trip this summer of more than 50 miles has dropped by 10 percent year-over-year. In fact, only 60 percent of Americans plan to hit the road this season, compared to 70 percent in both 2012 and 2011.

Americans preparing for trips with shrewd tire and driving safety

While fewer people are road tripping this season, those doing so are placing a premium on safety. Eighty nine (89) percent of Americans surveyed will take some kind of precaution to check their vehicle prior to their trip. More than three-quarters of Americans (76 percent) will check their tire pressure and fluid levels, 55 percent will examine tires for damage, and 51 percent will inspect their brakes/brake pads.

When it comes to safety, American drivers are becoming increasingly reliant on cell phones and smartphones. The majority (52 percent) of Americans who currently own and drive a vehicle cited a cell phone as the most essential safety item to have in their car on a road trip. Interestingly, of those, 58 percent were aged 55 and older compared with only 48 percent of those aged 18-34. Twenty one (21) percent of total respondents said a spare tire is the most essential and only 6 percent cited a GPS/map.

Where do Americans turn for help when they break down?

When asked about the prospect of their car breaking down, Americans overwhelmingly stated they would place their first call to a tow truck or AAA (33 percent) compared to parents (7 percent), siblings (4 percent) and a best friend (4 percent). The least likely phone call would be to an in-law (1 percent).

"Our quarterly Hankook Tire Gauge Index has been a great way to track driver trends and behavior, especially during these summer months," said Henry Kopacz, Public Relations and Social Media Manager, Hankook Tire America Corp. "It is encouraging to see that the vast majority of Americans are taking precautions before traveling this season. In addition to what our survey shows drivers will already be doing, there are some other basic tire maintenance tips and tricks they can follow to ensure the roads are even safer this summer, and help them save money."

Hankook's Top Tips for a Safe (and Budget-Friendly) Summer Travel

Park in the Shade - Air in your vehicle's tires expands as temperatures rise, in fact for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit increase in ambient air temperature, your tire's inflation pressure can go up by about 1 psi.

Air 'Em Up - Check tire pressure at least once a month to ensure proper inflation. Under-inflated tires wear out faster and waste fuel, squandering energy, gas and money.

Check Your Tread – Tires with little or poor tread do not provide the grip needed in demanding conditions, such as wet roads.

Choose the Right Tire – Tires that offer lower rolling resistance, such as the ultra-high performance all-season Hankook Ventus S1 noble2, can deliver fuel savings by minimizing wasted energy as a tire rolls, thereby improving fuel efficiency and saving consumers money.

The Hankook Tire Gauge Index survey of 1,008 randomly-selected Americans was conducted on June 18-19 by Vision Critical, on behalf of Hankook Tire America Corp. Additional findings from the survey include:

37 percent of Americans say their favorite type of road trip music is Rock 'N Roll, followed by Country (19 percent) and Hip-Hop (10 percent) 69 percent of American drivers would not let someone smoke in their car 43 percent of Americans wash their cars themselves; 43 percent go to a car wash