Driving safety: Myth or fact?
Last updated: January 1
We've all heard driving tips that leave us wondering if they're really useful or something of urban legend. While it's always a good idea to practice safe driving, it can be hard to distinguish myth from truth. Here's the truth behind a few common tips you may have heard.
Myth: Yellow 'driving glasses' improve nighttime vision
You may have heard that yellow-tinted glasses can help improve vision at night by reducing glare from headlights, street lights and lighted signs. But do they really work? According to the American Academy of Ophthamology (AAO), any tinted glasses may make it harder for some people to see in the dark. Those yellow-tinted glasses may actually limit the amount of light getting to the driver's eyes, which can make it difficult to see objects in already dark conditions.
If you're having trouble seeing at night, it is best to see a doctor who can properly asses your vision needs, says the AAO. Also, remember to keep your glasses, windshield (both inside and out) and headlights clean. You may want to get a pair of prescription glasses with an anti-reflective coating, says Popular Mechanics, as this will allow plenty of light to get to your eyes while reducing glare.
Fact: Don't drive with cruise control in wet weather
While you may believe that driving at a consistent speed in rain or snow will increase your safety, driving with cruise control when the roads are wet may actually be more dangerous. The system's sensors may be affected by the moisture, which means they may not be as reliable, says Edmunds. Additionally, you may not have the same traction as you would without cruise control. For example, when you take your foot off the gas to step on the brake, some of the car's weight shifts to the front tires — providing a little more traction. With the cruise control on, you won't have that shift and may not be able to gain traction as quickly as needed, according to Edmunds. Because cruise control is only disabled when you apply your brakes, it is best to turn it off before the roads are wet.
Myth: Four-wheel and all-wheel drive help with braking
With so much talk about traction surrounding all-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles, it can be easy to think that these features will mean better braking. But as Consumer Reports notes, AWD and 4WD are designed to help with traction and acceleration. Neither AWD or 4WD are designed to improve a vehicle's braking capabilities, and you'll still need as much time and distance to stop as you would in a two-wheel drive vehicle.
With so much information (and misinformation) available today, it can be hard to decipher fact from fiction. Be sure to do a little research before you buy into what may be an automotive myth.