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October 13, 2017

Driving 101: Myths vs. Reality

Do toads really cause warts? Does it actually take 7 years for gum to digest? Whether they're true or not, we've all heard these common misconceptions. Similarly, there are plenty of other myths that we go on believing simply because we've heard others say it before, and if we are not close to proving accuracy, we may go on believing it's true. Let's go over a couple of myths often heard while on the road.

MYTH 1: "A driver does not need to use their turn signal if they are in the designated turning lane."

Though it may seem trivial to use your turn signal when you are already in a turn only lane, using turn signals helps other drivers know your intentions and movements when driving. By law, if you plan on doing any right or left movement, you must use an "appropriate signal" before proceeding. This helps to reassure drivers around you that you really are planning on turning. Since it's impossible to verbally communicate with another driver while driving, we must use our turn signals!

MYTH 2: "In colder weather, you need to let your car warm up for a couple of minutes before getting on the road."

Plenty of auto experts don't recommend idling for any more than 30 seconds. In fact, regardless of the cold weather, leaving your car running doesn't necessarily warm it up. With fuel-injected engines, the engine control unit can adjust itself to idle perfectly even in sub-zero weather. Thus, leaving a car running for several minutes doesn't really build up much heat at all, compared to driving it; it actually causes more unnecessary wear and tear on your engine.

MYTH 3: "Driving with your interior (dome) lights turned on at night is illegal."

The truth of the matter is that when turned on, the dome light can be extremely bothersome to others. Though it isn't illegal, it can be quite a distraction, especially in the nighttime since it limits what you are able to see outside of your vehicle.

MYTH 4: "You can speed as long as you're going no more than 5 mph over the speed limit."

This is patently untrue. Clearly, going 65 mph in a 30 mph zone will call for a speeding ticket, but a citation may still be in order for anyone that goes over the posted speed limit even by a couple of mph. In Texas, anything over the posted speed limit is a violation of the law and subject to a citation. Thus, if you're driving in a 70 mph zone and you're going 71 mph, that's illegal. Whether you get pulled over and ticketed for it – is a whole different story.

MYTH 5: "Red means stop. Green means go. Yellow means go faster."

Okay, maybe this isn't really a myth, but it is still commonly expressed by many. When the light turns yellow, many contemplate whether they should run it or hit the brake. Contrary to popular belief, yellow means "slow down". However, many drivers will get stuck in the dilemma zone, which typically is the time they will question: Can I make it? Because of the time it takes to react to the light, it will usually cause a delay or slamming on the brakes. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: Never accelerate and if you're unsure about the distance, always brake!

As it turns out, there are some myths that bring forth a very minimal light of truth. You can't always believe everything you hear; as always, A-MAX Auto Insurance wants to remind you to make sure you practice safe driving at all times! It pays to be a safe driver.


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