In April this year, about 54 percent of Americans expected to return to their previous driving habits before the end of summer. However, according to Hankook’s most recent survey, drivers are on the road less than they were about a year ago. This is despite the optimism they had during the pandemic.
In September 2021, 36 percent of Americans drove each day, compared to about 48 percent in April 2021. Majority have not hit the road daily since September 2020. Surveys done before October 2019 show that about 61 percent of Americans drove daily.
Furthermore, only 3 percent said they were not driving at all in September 2020. At the same time in 2021, 15% said the same thing, showing a 400 percent increase year-over-year.
Across America, most drivers expect to cover less than 200 miles per week. However, some demographics seem to be hitting the road more than others. According to Hankook’s data, there could be three key shifts that are responsible for these trends. They include:
1. Reopening of schools
Parents are more likely to drive over 200 miles per week, especially those with children under 18. They comprise about 30 percent, and 22 percent of them claim they are driving more to school. This shows that more parents are choosing to take their kids to school rather than have them use public transportation or the school bus.
2. Return to the workplace
21 percent of millennials, those aged between 18 to 34, claim to have driven to the workplace more frequently in the last 30 days. This shows a desire for them to work outside their homes despite the Covid-19 pandemic and its concerns.
3. Changing travel plans
The data also shows that about 30 percent of Americans have postponed, changed, or canceled their upcoming travel plans due to the rising Covid-19 concerns. This is especially with the onset of the Delta variant.
“Daily driving can serve as an indicator of normalcy, especially considering commutes to work, school, and other regular activities,” said Brooklyn Emery, Brand Communications Manager at Hankook Tire. “So while we’re seeing a trend towards the return of in-person events such as sports games and concerts, it is clear from our latest Gauge Index that the pandemic’s effects are lingering, especially when it comes to the impact on our driving routines.”
Despite the minimal driving, Americans are still maintaining their cars well and adhering to maintenance schedules. Only 12 percent said that they had postponed their regular maintenance in the last 30 days. This is an improvement. In 2019, 47 percent of drivers said they had canceled or delayed a scheduled maintenance appointment due to Covid-19.
The survey is known as the Hankook Tire Guage index. It finds out what opinions and attitudes Americans have towards driving. The last survey was carried out between September 7 and 9, 2021. About 2,432 Americans aged 18 and above who had a valid U.S. driver’s license participated.