Top Ten

Top 10 driving misconceptions

Here are some of the strangest yet most common driving tips I have come across:

By Ian Law Wheels.ca

Jun 10, 2013 4 min. read

Article was updated 10 years ago

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As an advanced-driver-training teacher, I hear all sorts of strange driving lore. There are driving tips that are simply out of date and then there are those that are just plain fiction. Here are some of the strangest yet most common ones I have come across:

1. "I had my turn signal on but they didn't let me in." Many motorists seem to think that activating their turn signal means other motorists must let them? in. Turn signals are simply an indication of what you want or need to do. They are mandatory for all turns or lane changes but activating them does not give the driver the right of way to make that turn of lane change. The Highway Traffic Act states that each motorist must use their turn signals but the lane change or turn must only be completed when it is safe to do so.

2. "The middle lane is the driving lane." On multi-lane highways, the right lane is the proper lane to drive in. The middle lane and the left lane are passing lanes. On most of the 400 series highways, trucks are not allowed in the left lane in certain areas. This is where the middle lane becomes their passing lane. Besides, the right lane is the safest lane to drive in.

3. "It's against the law to drive in bare feet." There is nothing in the HTA that says you cannot drive in bare feet. It is however, best to drive in shoes with thin soles so you can feel the pedals better.

4. "I hate driving behind trucks. I can't see past them." Trucks present a large blind spot in front of smaller vehicles. It is imperative to see farther up the road to be safe. If you can't see past the truck, drop farther back from the truck so you can see more of what is beyond it. Another tip is to stagger off to the side slightly to see up the drivers' side better. There is nothing in the HTA that says you must drive down the middle of your lane.

5. "If you get into a skid, put your vehicle in neutral." This tip only works for some vehicles. If the back end of your front-wheel-drive vehicle is sliding in a skid, the best way to pull yourself out of it is to apply power. If you have shifted into neutral, adding power won?t help. This is ?old school" and needs to be updated.

6. "You can use your hand brake to get out of a skid." This tip is also limited to certain types of vehicles. The hand brake doesn?t work well with today's ABS brakes and All Wheel Drive vehicles. This is also a technique that requires lots of practice. Again, this was old school driving and worked well with rear wheel? or front wheel drive and with good training. Trying this on your own can prove costly.

7."Put your sunglasses on in heavy rain. It helps you see through the spray." I have tried this and it hasn't worked for me at all. The best way to see in heavy rain is to stay well back of the vehicles in front of you. This will minimize the spray coming off their tires onto your windshield and gives you better braking time.

8."Wider tires give you more rubber on the road." This is simply not true. Many auto enthusiasts thought putting on a wider, lower profile tire put more rubber on the road. In fact, wider tires change the shape but not the size of the contact patch as long as the weight of the vehicle and the tire pressure stay the same.

9. "Using the vehicle's heater uses up more gas."The heat produced by the vehicle's heater is wasted energy from the combustion process. Turning on the heater only circulates hot water that has cooled the engine. It does not take any more energy to produce that heat. That heat was only going to be radiated into the atmosphere through the vehicle?s radiator anyway.

10. "I can drive just fine while talking on my hands free phone." This is the most common and the most erroneous driving myth. The experts have shown that being distracted even by a conversation is dangerous when driving. When your brain is processing a conversation, it is not processing driving information. So if you're focusing on the conversation, your driving is going to suffer.

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