Whether you love or loathe Dad’s driving advice, chances are some of his old tried and true tips are just plain false. Some of the most common tricks we’ve heard are ineffective at best. At worst, following these unsound practices can actually damage your car, or even hurt yourself.
Myth #1: Talking on a hands-free headset is safer than holding the phone.
Whether you are holding a phone, using a headset, or using a car’s built-in call system, you’re still risking distraction by conversation. Keep you and your passengers safe by minimising internal conversations and not answering calls while driving.
Myth # 2: Change your oil every 3,000 miles.
You need to check your oil regularly for degradation and signs of debris, but your oil can last a long time with proper care. A better indicator is the oil change guidelines found in your vehicle’s owner manual.
Myth #3: Seatbelts and airbags do more damage than good.
Seatbelts and airbags could be the only thing that gives you a fighting chance of survival. You are far more likely to die bouncing freely off the vehicle surfaces or being flung head-first through the windshield into trees or traffic.
Myth #4: Keep your hands at 10 & 2.
The actual position for ideal control is 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. This evenly distributes your turning range over the entire wheel, giving you optimal control.
Myth #5: Almost every myth about traffic police.
Some believe cops won’t pull you over for going less than 10 MPH over the limit. Others believe that traffic police have a quota to fill and will pull you over for anything. Whatever you think, you always have the chance of being stopped if you are breaking the law.
Myth #6: Premium gas makes your car perform better and cleans the engine.
Unless your engine is specifically designed for higher octane fuel, using premium gas just wastes your money. Almost all fuel has the same amount of detergents, so any idea that premium fuel “cleans” an engine better is not true.
Myth #6: Driving with the dome light on is illegal.
This is a myth parents typically use because it’s annoying to drive at night with the interior lights on, but it’s not actually illegal. In fact, one of the original purposes for the dome light was to make it easier for a passenger to read maps to assist in navigation.
Myth #7: The colour of your vehicle affects the cost of your insurance.
Many people think that red sports cars cost more to insure. The reality is it costs more because it’s a sports car, not what colour it is.
Myth #8: You have to warm up your engine, especially in the winter.
Driving warms up the engine and gets the air-conditioning pumping way faster than letting it idle for half an hour. True, you need to give the engine time to distribute oil, but this is better done with some steady driving.
Myth #9: Extra weight in the back provides better traction in bad elements.
This only works for vehicles with rear-driven suspensions. Most modern cars are front-driven, which means all that extra weight actually makes it harder to drive and brake. Additionally, weight like sandbags can shift suddenly, making the vehicle harder to control.
Myth #10: Throwing an arm out in front of a passenger will protect them.
It’s such a typical Mom thing to do, but it can make a dangerous situation worse. Always have both hands on the steering wheel, make sure everyone is wearing a seatbelt, and small children should always ride in the back seat.