Unless you’ve been on an advanced driving course, chances are that most of your winter driving knowledge has been picked up from tips and a bit of trial and error. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, but it might mean that you’ve been told one of a series of popular driving myths, many of which can actually put you in danger on the road.
Evo Magazine have written a brilliant online article debunking five of the most common myths, which you can read here.
If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, however, we’ve summarised the main points below:
1. Winter tyres aren’t only for snow. It may seem like too much effort to change your tyres, but winter tyres will actually serve you better in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius – whether or not there’s snow. This is because their softer rubber gives you better purchase on cold roads, and the extra treads offer greater traction.
2. It’s not enough just to have a 4×4. A four wheel drive doesn’t make you immune to bad weather, and in fact they often have longer downhill braking distances in snow and ice because there’s far more weight of car to stop.
3. Under-inflating tyres do not help traction. In fact, this is far more likely to increase the risk of tyre damage. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines before adjusting your tyres.
4. Illumination is not inspiration. In tricky winter conditions it can be tempting to go to full beam to get the greatest visibility, but you need to remember that this can be dangerous for other drivers – always switch to a lower light setting when a car is coming the other way.
In addition, fog lights should only ever be used when there is fog.
5. Always clear your car of snow. Although it’s tempting just to wipe the snow off the windows, always clear all the snow off the roof. If you don’t, you might find yourself without visibility after braking sharply!