Both young and experienced drivers are likely to have been given “expert” bad weather driving advice at one point or another in their lifetimes. These myths can range from the misinformed (all-wheel drive is unstoppable on snow) to the downright absurd (there’s no need to warm up your car in frigid temperatures). Unless you’re willing to risk life and limb, the following are some of the worst bad weather driving advice to ever make the rounds.
All-Wheel Drive Is All Powerful
The main issue with all-wheel drive vehicles and their handling on snow and ice is that the feature gives car owners a false sense of security. All-wheel drive vehicles do have better traction in the snow and ice than two-wheel drive cars, but you still need to accelerate slowly, turn carefully, and brake gently while driving in winter weather.
Hit the High Beams in the Fog
This myth is not only dangerous to you, but also other drivers on the road. This myth is so widespread that many people even refer to high beams as fog lights. However, the extra bright light from the high beams will cause you to have reduced visibility and will also act as a distraction to other drivers traveling on the road with you. Although you should use your headlights in foggy conditions, forgo the high beams and drive at a reduced speed.
Don’t Warm Up Your Car in the Cold
Social media has been held responsible for this myth becoming popular. The reasons behind not warming up a car range from wasting fuel to newer engines not requiring a warm-up period to run efficiently. Granted, you don’t need to have your car idling in the driveway for hours, but allowing it to warm up for a minute or two will give time for the heat to kick on, the windows to defrost, and for the oil to get heated enough to properly lubricate the engine’s moving bits.
Drench Your Car With a Pot of Boiling Water to Defrost the Windshield
Not only is this silly to do, but can cause major damage to your car. By pouring boiling hot water on an icy cold windshield, you run the risk of causing the glass to crack due to the extreme temperature changes. An ice scrapper and de-icing product is a much safer method to clear off the windshield.
Steering and Skidding
One of the most confusing bits of bad weather advice is what exactly you should do if you start to skid. Do you steer away from the skid? Or do you steer into the skid? Although there has been major debate on what you should actually do, most experts agree that you should avoid oversteering since this will cause you to fishtail. Your best bet is to slowly redirect your car to the way you were intending to go.
Deflate Tires in the Snow
Just because someone told you that you’ll get better traction with under inflated tire doesn’t mean you should buy this line. Deflating tires will do nothing as far as preventing accidents and can actually damage your tires by causing unnecessary wear and tear. You’re also increasing your risk of having a blowout while driving. Instead, keep your tires at the pressure recommended by the manufacturer and use a tire gauge to check levels regularly. If your area has a tendency to have long and terrible winters, you may also want to invest in a good pair of snow tires. Winter tires are pliable in the cold and will provide much better traction by sticking better to snow and ice covered roadways.
Stay Put in Your Car When Spotting a Tornado
One of the worst pieces of bad weather driving advice is that you should just stay in your parked car if there’s a tornado nearby. First of all, if you can safely drive away from the tornado, why on earth would you stay on its path of destruction? Although a car can provide some shelter from flying debris, the high winds can easily flip the car with you still inside it. Also, if you can make it to a sturdy shelter nearby, then you’re much better off ditching the car.
Traffic school and defensive driving courses can help you rule the road no matter what type of extreme weather conditions you’re facing. Learn all about safe driving while also potentially earning a discount on your car insurance policy.