5 Of The Most Common Winter Driving Myths
As winter sets in it is always imperative to take a little more time and a few additional steps to keep your vehicle moving in cold, icy conditions. It means taking more time to remove ice and snow from your vehicle or ensuring the best lights and wipers are in top working condition.
However, what is more, important is understanding what you should and should not do when it comes to winter driving and maintenance. Winter conditions bring various hurdles which motorists must overcome.
From poor traction and handling to slippery ice, mountains of snow and frosted windshields, it can be hard to navigate for many months. While some places experience much milder winters, others must cope with less-than-stellar road conditions for about half the year.
It is necessary to protect your vehicle from all elements and that you have sufficient knowledge and the right tools to drive safely in winter. Nonetheless, there are many driving tips out there which do not necessarily hold water.
We have all heard our fair share of the winter driving myths. So, rather than just heeding the words of each myth you hear, ensure you are adhering to safe driving practices. That is why we want to separate driving fact from fiction to keep you moving in Winnipeg winters.
The misconception level out there about winter driving is shocking. To assist you remain safe through colder months and avoid a potential vehicle insurance claim, we’ve put together a list of the top five winter driving myths – and why they are incorrect.
1. You do not require winter tires when driving in the city
At times there may be less snow in the city. However, there have been times when some cities have had more snow because of the lake effect compared to surrounding areas. Along with this, winter tires provide better grip in temperatures below 3C.
It includes better grip on dry pavement, wet pavement, snow, slush, and ice. Every car is safer when fitted with the winter tires for any winter city, road or rural. Those who do not want to install winter tires are possibly the drivers stuck at the bottom of the hill eventually holding up traffic when it snows. Yes, you must use winter tires even in the city.
2. You are safer in an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) car
Some of the car manufacturers have bolstered this myth by linked their AWD technology to safety. In reality, AWD isn’t a safety feature; it is just a performance feature. This technology only assists a vehicle to accelerate. It doesn’t help the car to stop in a shorter distance or steer any better.
It all comes down to the amount of grip your tires develop. The tires on any car can only generate a specific amount of grip. The tire’s tread design, the construction, and the tread compound determines the amount of grip generated. A tire won’t develop more grip even if you send the engine power through it.
On the slippery roads, a car with AWD won’t have more grip than a 2-wheel drive car with similar tires. It will just accelerate better. The available AWD technology in the today’s vehicles is incredible. It can instantly and efficiently divert engine power to the tires which have significant grip for accelerating. The disadvantage of this technology is that it can mask just how slippery the roads are leading to motorist overconfidence.
3. Put your car in neutral if you start to skid
It only applies to some rear-wheel drive (RWD) vehicles. A driver needs to accelerate the vehicle in some skids, like a rear-end skid in an AWD or front wheel car. If you’ve put the car into neutral, just applying gas to recover from the rear skid won’t help.
Skid-recovery skills are more complex than many people realize and specific drive configurations are linked to these skills. To recover from the rear-end skid in the rear-wheel drive car is different than in an AWD or front wheel car.
To fully understand how to recover from a skid, identify a winter driving school which will let you practice in your vehicle and show you how to control it.
4. You should let your car warm up before driving
It only adds wear and tear and wastes fuel. Modern cars are designed with close tolerances in machining of their mechanical parts and do not need to be warmed up like cars of some years ago.
Also, they warm up quickly and with newer and improved lubricants; cars don’t have to sit and warm up before being driven. It is mainly true if you’re using the synthetic oils. These oils don’t thicken up in the cold temperatures such as traditional oil, and as such, they flow better in the more frigid temperatures. You do not idle longer than 15 seconds before driving away even on the coldest days.
5. You only need two winter tires
Some drivers with either front- or rear-wheel-drive feel that they only require two winter tires. Many will only install them on the driver wheels. Driving a car fitted with only two winter tires is hazardous. Using two winter tires on the rear of the rear-wheel drive car means you can drive just fine, but it’ll significantly comprise stopping and steering.
It’s the stopping and steering ability which will keep you safe. Others with the front-wheel drive feel they require it only on the front of their car. It will enable them to get going and steer just fine. The risk comes in the rear of the car having very low traction leading to an imbalance in handling, and the high possibility of experiencing rear-end skid (or over-steer) causing loss of control.