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Winter Driving Myths vs. Legal Realities

Winter driving is filled with challenges, and separating fact from fiction is crucial for navigating the legal case of an accident. In this blog, we’ll unravel common winter driving myths and shed light on the legal realities that individuals need to be aware of to ensure their safety and protect their rights this winter.

Myth: “Four-wheel drive ensures safe snow driving.”

Reality: While four-wheel or all-wheel drive provides an advantage in snow, it’s not a guaranteed solution. Safe winter driving relies on proper tires and good driving habits, so don’t let technology replace good judgment.

Myth: “Pouring hot water on your windshield melts ice fast.”

Reality: Using hot water to melt ice on your windshield may seem logical, but it often leads to broken glass. Look for alternative methods to thaw your frozen car without causing damage.

Myth: “Warming up your car before driving in cold weather is okay.”

Reality: While it’s tempting to idle your car to warm it up during winter, it’s not as beneficial as it seems. This practice wastes fuel, emits unnecessary exhaustion, and does little for your engine. According to reports, your engine is fully lubricated after less than a minute of idling, and the most effective way to warm up your vehicle is by driving.

Myth: “Letting air out of your ties improves traction.”

Reality: Contrary to old advice, letting air out of your tires doesn’t enhance traction. Your car’s tires are designed to be inflated to a specific pressure and underinflating them can make it harder to stop. Check your recommended tire pressure and regularly monitor it during winter.

Myth: “You don’t really need winter tires.”

Reality: Despite the popularity of “all-season” tires, dedicated winter tires offer better traction in cold, ice, and snow. They have a more aggressive tread pattern and pliable rubber compounds, making them essential in temperatures below 45 degrees.

Myth: “There’s nothing you can do about black ice.”

Reality: Black ice is dangerous but not unavoidable. Maintain control by keeping a steady speed, avoiding sudden braking or acceleration, and steering into the skid until you regain control.

Myth: “Pumping brakes when stopping on ice.”

Reality: If your vehicle has an antilock braking system (ABS), there’s no need to pump the brakes on slippery roads. ABS automatically pulsates the brakes to help regain traction – just apply steady pressure on the brake pedal.

Myth: “Winter car washes are a waste of money.”

Reality: Regular car washes in winter are worthwhile. They help remove road salt and ice-melting chemicals that can cause rust and corrosion, especially in vulnerable areas like fuel and brake lines.

Myth: “You only need to use headlights at night.”

Reality: Even during the day, use your headlights in poor visibility conditions. This helps you see and make your vehicle more visible to others, especially when the windshield wipers are used – as required by Ohio law.


If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, Elk + Elk can help. Call now for a free case review at 1-800-ELK-OHIO (1-800-355-6446). We provide answers and support throughout the entire process.