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Survey: 44 Percent of Drivers Return to Daily Commute

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July 9, 2021— As post-pandemic trends emerge and life returns back to “normal,” more and more people are continuing to trickle back out onto the roads to commute to work and embark on longer road trips—a key shift likely to mean a business boom for the automotive industry as those increased miles driven lead to needed maintenance.

To study how driving habits are shifting as the pandemic appears to wane, Hankook Tire America, a tire manufacturer headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., surveyed 1,021 drivers from April 2020 to April 2021, and has posted its findings online in its Hankook Gauge Index Dashboard

Ratchet+Wrench checked in with Brooklyn Emery, Hankook’s communications manager, for more insight on the implications of a return to daily and long-distance driving. 

More daily driving, more maintenance.

With 44 percent of drivers surveyed returning to their daily commute, regular vehicle maintenance will once again be an important factor for drivers, and repair shops can expect consumers to return to their mechanics. 

“The more people on the road, the more people who have to think about maintenance on a consistent basis,” she says.

Around 60 percent of drivers who regularly use their cars conducted car maintenance in the last year, but those who drive less than once a week are much less likely to visit a mechanic, according to the index. The more often people drive in their day to day life, the more likely they are to visit an auto shop.

A return to vehicle check-ups.

The Hankook Index also found that half of drivers surveyed have taken a road trip in the last 30 days and 64 percent are planning to take a trip in the next month. 

Those longer trips are likely to lead to vehicle problems. “The longer you are driving, the more likely you will need maintenance,” Emery says. 

More than that, many drivers choose to bring in their car for check-ups prior to a long road trip, as to prevent any issues during their vacation. 

While the pandemic caused a significant dip in miles driven, a steady return to daily routines signals a return to normal business for repair shops. “People are returning to driving and getting out there in bigger numbers than before,” Emery says. 

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