10 Winter Driving Myths Busted

Did you know that during Winter, the amount of accidents on the roads increases by 20%? There is no doubt that the cold weather brings a few extra obstacles to drivers, so we are taking part in the ATS Euromaster Winter Driving Myth Challenge to help keep drivers safe by busting common myths and questions around driving in winter.

By getting better informed about winter driving tips, and investing in some good quality winter tyres, we will be totally prepared to tackle this season on the road.

I challenged friends and family to answer these ten true or false questions about driving to find out which of these myths are the most commonly misunderstood and help us be better educated on winter road safety.

Although driving in Winter can be trickier, it is also a time that lots of us are making road trips to see friends and family around the country to spend time together in the holiday season.

winter driving scene

ATS Euromaster are one of the leading tyre and vehicle service providers in the UK and have a network of garages. They are the only tyre specialist to hold a gold award from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and are a great place to turn to for your winter car needs.

Driving safety is a top priority for ATS Euromaster and they provide tyres, MOTs, vehicle servicing, and maintenance solutions to help keep drivers and passengers safe throughout the year, giving the peace of mind that we all need.

On to the myths…

10 Winter Driving Myths – Are they True or False?

Try answering each one before you read the answers, and keep a track of your score.

1. It is illegal to drive in wellies. 

Out of the friends and family I asked, the answers were split evenly on this one, with 50% saying true and 50% false.

And the answer is… FALSE – Although it can be trickier to drive in shoes with thick soles such as wellies, especially if you are not used to it, it  is not illegal.

It is your responsibility as a driver to wear clothing and footwear that allows you to  maintain control of the vehicle, so, if you do find it more challenging to drive in wellies it’s best to change into a different pair of shoes in the car, to maintain a better sense of safety.

In summer, the same can be said for driving in flip-flops!

2. Car crime is less common around Christmas. 

75% of my friends and family thought this one was false, and thought that car crime would be increased around this time of year but actually the answer is…

TRUE – There are fewer reports of car crime around Christmas & Boxing Day. Perhaps car thieves are busy spending these few days with family instead just like the rest of us! 

3. You can be fined for leaving the engine running while you’re defrosting your car. 

The answer was split 50/50 on this one, with some of the people who said you can be fined admitting that even while knowing that, they still do it! This is a pretty common practice, but the answer is…

TRUE – It is not permitted to leave your car running while it is stationary and unattended. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if your vehicle is stolen while you are defrosting it, your insurance could also be invalid which would be a nightmare.  

4. It is a legal requirement to carry a winter emergency kit. 

75% of my friends and family said this was false, and this time they were correct. The answer is…

FALSE – It may be a good idea to carry safety equipment, just in case you run into any difficulty during Winter, but it is not actually a legal requirement to do so. 

5. An engine doesn’t need time to warm up before you start driving in the cold. 

Again, the answer was split 50/50, and this one can depend on the age of your car but overall the answer is…

TRUE – Older car manuals may advise you to let your car ‘warm up’ but today’s modern cars have computers  or fuel injection systems that can compensate during cold temperatures.

By letting your car idle before setting off, you will just be using up more fuel and wasting money.

6. Adding extra weight to your car will give you better traction. 

With this one, 50% of those I asked had no idea at all, while the other half said false. So, it seems like this is an area that people find quite confusing. If you’re not sure, it’s better not to try adding anything to your car, and the answer is…

FALSE – You should only ever consider adding extra weight to your  vehicle if it is rear-wheel drive and ONLY then with proper advice from driving experts. 

If you have a front-wheel drive car (which applies to most modern cars) then placing additional weight in the boot  car can negatively impact your traction. If in doubt – just leave it alone!

7. You can mix winter tyres with summer or all-season ones for the best effect. 

One of the people I asked thought this was okay, but luckily the others knew this one, as it is quite dangerous to do this, and the answer is…

FALSE – It is not suitable to mix and match different types of car tires. If you equip your car with four tyres that are not the same, you can lose some of  your ability to control your vehicle which as you can imagine, can be dangerous.

8. It is recommended to de-ice your car using hot water. 

Everyone got this one correct, although some said they still do it in an emergency, but it is definitely not recommended. And the answer is…

FALSE – When you use hot water to de-ice your car, there is a risk that you can crack your windscreen so it’s better to avoid this. Take the time and let it de frost properly and safely using the de-misting button in your car controls.

9. Driving with more lights on will help you when it is snowing. 

Everyone managed to get this one correct too. You do not want to go around driving with your full beam on, and so the answer is…

FALSE – Driving in poor visibility can be hard but using additional lights makes very little difference. In extreme cases a fog light may be beneficial but, usually, maintaining dimmed  headlights is more than enough to see (and be seen by) other vehicles.  Do not blind others by driving in traffic with your full beam as this is dangerous.

10. If you disconnect your car battery at night, you can save power and stop it from going  flat. 

Again, everyone got this one correct. This one is not something we have heard people doing as commonly, but it is still something to avoid! The answer is…

FALSE – Your car battery can go flat whether it’s plugged in or not, so there is no benefit to disconnecting it. Cold temperatures can affect your battery, but one of the simple ways to give your battery the best chance of charging up properly is to go on a few longer journeys. When you drive only short very distances all the time, you are at the most risk of getting a flat battery in your car.

So, how many did you get correct? With those I asked, the average correct answers were around 6 or 7 out of 10 so we definitely all still have a few tips to brush up on.

After going through the quiz, we know a little better and will be safer on the roads this winter!

This post is a collaboration with ATSEuromaster, but all thoughts and findings are my own

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