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The most common winter driving myths busted

The most common winter driving myths busted

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There are a lot of motoring experts willing to share their knowledge with those not ‘in the know’. Trouble is, not all of that knowledge is accurate or even remotely true. The auto industry is complicated enough without throwing misinformation into the mix. Winter driving seems to have more myths associated with it than other forms of driving, which is what we are going to tackle today.

Here are what we consider the most common winter driving myths that people still take as truth.

Lowering tire pressure gives more grip
We hear this myth a lot. Lowering tire pressure allows more of a contact patch on the road which increases grip. Not true, especially in the snow and ice. Winter tires are the only way to increase grip. You should always use the manufacturer’s recommended pressure for the tire, regardless of the weather.

You don’t need to clear snow from the car roof
Clearing snow off the car is part of life up north and you will often hear people saying that they don’t bother clearing snow from the roof and you shouldn’t either. Not true. What do you think will happen when you brake? The snow slides forward onto your screen. Plus, the snow will fly backwards into the path of the vehicles behind you.

ABS takes care of the braking so just hit the pedal as normal
ABS as a braking aid is excellent as it helps modulate brake pressure better than we can ourselves. However, it isn’t magic and depends on having grip to work properly. Not something you can guarantee when driving on icy roads.

All weather tires are fine for winter because ‘all weather’
This might be true a few latitudes further south but it certainly is not true in Canada. Anything below 7C causes the rubber in all-weather tires to harden, reducing grip. Winter tires are softer and have shallower tread to help maintain contact with the road surface. They really are life savers.

All-wheel drive is all you need in the snow
AWD is definitely a help in the snow and ice but it isn’t all you need. AWD helps put power down when you accelerate but doesn’t help turn, manoeuvre or brake. It also adds weight and inertia to a vehicle, so needs more consideration than a two wheel drive car.

The make of tire doesn’t matter as long as it has the snowflake
Another myth. Winter tire quality matters just as much as all-weather tires. The compound, tread, reliability, longevity and grip are all dependent on the quality of the materials used in the tire. Buy cheap, buy at least twice!

Let go of the wheel if you hit black ice as you’re just a passenger
Our final winter driving myth is too common for our taste. Yes you can lose grip in black ice and you should loosen your grip but never let go. Take your foot off the gas and let the car slow, you may gain grip and control during the slide.

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