Winter Car Care and Driving Myths to Avoid
There are many preparations drivers need to make when faced with the prospect of winter driving. However, when searching for tips on how to handle the weather and snowy roads, some misinformation persists. Here are some common winter driving myths to avoid.
1. 4-Wheel Drive / All-Wheel Drive Can Handle Anything
The bad part of improved car performance and safety technology is that it gives many drivers overconfidence. All-wheel drive, automated braking, and more driver assistance features greatly improve vehicle performance and safety in poor driving conditions. However, they aren’t cure-alls for every situation. Even with all-wheel drive, drivers should avoid unplowed and off-roading in winter. Even with autonomous and emergency braking, drivers should apply the brakes carefully. Drivers should always be cautious.
2. Start Your Car Early to Let it Warm Up
No one likes to drive in a cold car, which is why this myth has persisted. However, this method is wasteful on one count and dangerous on another. The engine of a car is far more efficient at warming up when in motion with the engine in use, meaning sitting around is just a waste of gas and starting to drive right away warms your car up faster. Furthermore, letting your engine run idle in the cold can cause damage to the pistons and cylinders which need generated heat to maintain integrity.
3. Less-Populated, Back Roads are Better
Backroads and country roads are always less populated, meaning that there’s less of a chance for a collision with another vehicle. However, with the knowledge that city roads will have more traffic, they are treated with far more care. City roads will be plowed, gritted, salted, and have been driven over many times for better traction. Backroads will often be left alone and are far more dangerous to drive on, causing a big risk for swerving off road or getting stuck.
4. Quickly Defrost and Melt Ice on Your Windshield with Hot Water
This method will quickly melt the ice stuck to the glass of your car. However, doing so can severely weaken the strength of the glass. This quick and extreme temperature change from freezing to boiling results can easily cause the glass to crack or at the very least weaken it enough to crack and shatter easily in the future.
5. Deflate Your Tires for Better Traction on Snowy/Icy Roads
This is one of the most dangerous myths to overcome. Taking the air out of your tires, below their optimal levels, doesn’t grant you greater traction. Instead, it compromises the integrity of the rubber, causing a greater risk for a blowout. Instead, if you’re in need of extra traction, simply purchase and install snow tires as the cheapest, safest, cost-effective solution.