As we head deeper into the winter months, it is important to stay vigilant on the road. The US Department of Transportation found that each year 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15% happen during snowfall or sleet. Snow and ice make for difficult driving conditions and we should all be driving at our best. Knowing how to drive in these conditions is key so we are here to debunk 4 of the most widely believed winter driving myths.
MYTH: Letting a vehicle idle before driving it in cold weather is not a bad idea.
FACT: Although this is a popular option in the winter months, this can be damaging to your health, wallet, and car. When a vehicle is running idle, it lets off a dangerous carbon monoxide gas which can be dangerous in an enclosed space. It also consumes fuel faster which takes a toll on your wallet. Additionally, the cars of the past may have needed this to deliver the fuel but the cars of today do not. Fuel delivery is either computer-controlled or fuel-injected and these advancements allow for the car to work at any temperature without needing that time of idleness.
MYTH: It is safe to drive in four-wheel drive when it’s snowing.
FACT: This is a dangerous misconception. While four-wheel drive does help to drive through the snow, it is nothing compared to having the proper education and proper wheels to stop when you want to. Many get all-season tires and do not acknowledge the difference and importance of winter tires in the winter season. Chris Welty, a Bridgestone tire specialist, claims a driver can stop 30% faster in snow and ice with the help of winter tires. Winter tires paired with a driver who stays vigilant and safe are far more valuable than a four-wheel driving system in the winter.
MYTH: When you want to stop in winter weather, use your parking brake.
FACT: Pulling a parking brake can be one of the worst ways to handle a panic situation. This can negate the anti-lock braking capabilities of your car which in turn only makes it exponentially more dangerous. In extreme cold, the parking brake can also freeze when trying to release it. To avoid these issues, rely on the power of your tires and steering skills. Chris Welty notes tires are designed to perform at 100% when braking while keeping steering to a minimum. He adds that if you cannot brake, steering away from the obstacle is the best strategy.
MYTH: It is safe to pass others who are driving slower than you.
FACT: It can be safe but you must take this decision with caution. For instance, if there is a slow-moving snowplow recognize that anything in front of that vehicle might be difficult to pass through. Take time to assess if it is in your best interest to keep behind. When deciding to pass another driver of a regular car, consider the type of road you are driving on. Welty points out that passing from dry or wet asphalt to ice or snow can be hard to control when you hit the gas. Lay off the gas on these surfaces for safer travels.
Winter conditions do make it harder to see and drive-in. If you do find yourself needing some repairs this winter season, find a location near you!
Source: Accu Weather