Winter Driving - Common Misconceptions

As the cold winter days approach, drivers hit the roads, confident that they can handle themselves should they face harsh weather conditions. After all, we read enough about what to do, exchange advice with friends and pass on valuable tips to loved ones. But, just how much of what we know, is actually right?

Whitetracks Vehicles have sourced and debunked the most common winter driving myths. How many of these common misconceptions have you driven by?


MYTH : Using anti-lock brakes can be done without any danger and the snow won't affect braking ability whatsoever.

FACT : Regardless of what brakes you have, when driving in icy conditions you MUST leave a bigger gap than usual between your vehicle and the one in front. This may need to be as much at ten times the normal recommended gap.


MYTH : When skidding out of control, you should slam your foot on the brakes or let go of the steering wheel.

FACT : What you should actually do is steer towards the skid. For example, if the rear of the car is sliding to the right, steer to the right. In panic, people often slam on the brakes or let the car skid freely by letting go of the steering wheel.


MYTH : Windscreen wipers will remove mist or snow so there is no need to remove it in the appropriate way each morning.

FACT: People tend to forgo putting extra additives in their windscreen washer fluid. These would make the world of difference when you consider the fact they prevent the water from freezing, meaning windscreen wipers are rendered useless in extreme conditions. Drivers should allow themselves a little more time in the morning to clear car windows and mirrors of snow and ice before setting off.


MYTH : Tyres are resilient enough in the snow to cope without care.

FACT: Before the snow is due, check tyres for adequate tread. Poor tyres will not grip when driving on snow and ice.


MYTH : The car should be kept in a lower gear at all times when driving on icy roads as it is safer.

FACT : A higher gear is in fact the more appropriate option to aid the tyres gripping better when moving on packed ice and snow.


MYTH : Driving at a good speed is fair if you are a good driver who is more than aware of the potential hazards on the road.

FACT : ALL drivers should keep their speed down, no matter clean their past record of driving. The time to stop and steer applies to all on the road to minimize accidents and the level of consequence, regardless of who is at fault.


Drive by the rules. Be safe - Drive carefully!


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