The leaves are falling off the trees thick and fast, the temperatures are dropping, and the festive lights are being hung up all around; winter is coming! In fact, I had to defrost my car for the first time since last winter the other morning, so you know that the cold and frost will be making a regular appearance as the weeks go on.
Speaking of cars and winter weather, did you know that there are 20% more car accidents out on the roads in winter? I know for me, driving a rear-wheel drive car, I can get a little anxious in the inclement winter weather like snow and ice, as it can feel hard to control. I also get confused with what you’re meant to do in weather like that; do you drive into the skid or away from it?
There are many myths and misconceptions about driving in winter, so with ATS Euromaster and their Winter Driving Myth Challenge, I have been testing my own knowledge, as well as that of my followers on Instagram to see if we are all up to scratch with our winter driving knowledge or if there is more that we need to learn. When we know the facts and can bust the myths that surround winter driving, we can all be safer drivers when we’re out on the road in winter.
MYTH NUMBER ONE
You can mix winter tyres with summer or all-season tyres for the best effect… FALSE! The majority of people did know this, which is good to hear. The reason is that if you don’t equip your car with tyres that are all the same, then it can cause problems, such as your inability to control the vehicle. There are many benefits to getting winter tyres, so with winter approaching, checking your tyre tread and getting tyres for winter is a good idea.
MYTH NUMBER TWO
It is illegal to drive wearing wellie boots… FALSE! While it can be harder to drive in those kinds of shoes, it is not illegal (although nearly half of my Instagram followers thought that it is illegal to do so). The main thing with footwear and driving in winter is making sure that you feel in control of the vehicle. If wellies feel slippery and hard to control the pedals in for you, then don’t wear them.
MYTH NUMBER THREE
Car crime is less common around Christmas… TRUE! Much to the surprise of 86% of my Insta followers, it is in fact true that there is less reported car crime around Christmas and Boxing Day. Although that’s good news, it doesn’t mean you should leave your vehicle unlocked or keep lots of valuables in it.
MYTH NUMBER FOUR
Driving with more lights on will help you to see better when it is snowing… FALSE! Luckily, most people seemed to know this one already, which is a good thing for driver and passenger safety. When there is reduced visibility, such as fog or snow, then adding more lights, such as full beam lights, can make little difference and can actually make visibility worse (as well as more hazardous for other drivers).
MYTH NUMBER FIVE
You can be fined for leaving the engine running while you’re defrosting your car…TRUE! This was a pretty even split when I ran the poll on Instagram, which is definitely interesting. I wasn’t sure myself. The rules behind it are that you aren’t allowed to leave your car running while it is stationary. One of the reasons this makes sense is that the cars will be in the vehicle, so if the car gets stolen, it is likely to invalidate your car insurance.
Some of these myths were things that I did know, and some that I wasn’t sure of at all. I am someone who needs to look into getting tyres ready for the winter, as I know that it will make a big difference to how well I’m able to drive in winter and keep my passengers and myself much safer in winter.