Drivers need to prioritize the safety of everyone on the roadway, including passengers and other road users. While there are various resources available such as state-issued driver’s manuals and online driver safety courses that provide reliable information on safe driving practices, it is still common for misinformation about safe driving to spread.
It’s also essential for drivers to be informed and to follow proven safety measures to ensure the safety of all parties on the road, which includes carrying the appropriate level of auto insurance coverage in Texas.
Keep the following 6 safety myths in mind the next time you are on the road.
Myth 1. Keep Your Car Doors Unlocked While Driving in TX
It is not uncommon to hear advice regarding driving with your doors locked. Some people suggest that you should always leave your doors unlocked while driving in case you are in an accident. The theory is that if your doors are unlocked, it will be easier for rescuers to pull you from a wrecked vehicle. Unfortunately, leaving your doors unlocked while driving is far more likely to result in devastating injuries.
It is safer to lock car doors while driving due to the risk of a door opening in an accident. Unlocked doors are more likely to open during a crash, and there is also a risk of young passengers opening a door while a vehicle is in motion. Most cars have an automatic locking feature when a vehicle reaches a certain speed.
Myth 2. Only Bridges are Dangerous in Icy Weather
Another common misconception is that ice represents less of a threat on roadways compared to bridges. This misconception might be because road signs in Texas often warn that bridges may ice during cold weather. While it is true that bridges are more likely to become icy first, the roads are just as dangerous when ice is present. Just like when driving in the rain, all road surfaces should be treated as potentially dangerous in inclement weather.
Driving in icy conditions is dangerous and should be avoided whenever possible. However, there are times when driving in hazardous weather cannot be avoided. Practice winter safety driving tips to ensure you are prepared for when bad weather strikes.
Myth 3. Used Car Seats Are Always Safe
There is a misconception that car seats are always safe to use. The reality is that—like many products—they wear out over time. Car seats have expiration dates because the materials used in their construction can break down over time, potentially affecting their safety and effectiveness. If you’re thinking about purchasing a secondhand car seat or someone offers one they no longer need, it is important to ask the previous owner about its usage history.
If the seat was involved in an accident, it may no longer meet manufacturer safety standards, even if it is not very old. It is always best to rely on a car seat that is in good condition and has not reached its expiration date to ensure the safety of your child while traveling. It is also important to follow car seat safety tips whenever you use a child car seat.
Myth 4. Keep Your Hands at “10 and 2” While Driving
For many years, Texas driving instructors informed would-be motorists to always keep their hands at “10 and 2” on the steering wheel while driving. While that advice might have been sound in years past, it is no longer valid. The advent of modern airbags has rendered this advice outdated.
In the event of a crash, airbags deploy at high speeds, which can cause injuries such as broken arms and facial lacerations if the driver is not properly positioned. To reduce the risk of injury, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises drivers to tilt the steering wheel away from their head, keep their hands at the “9 and 3 o’clock” position, and maintain a minimum distance of 10 inches between the airbag cover on the steering wheel and their breastbone.
Myth 5. Hands-Free Makes it Safe for Texans to Talk on the Phone
There has been a large push in recent years to ban the use of mobile devices while driving. While distracted driving has become one of the major threats on the roadway, many states have pushed drivers to move to hands-free headsets for making phone calls while on the road. While hands-free, a driver can allegedly make a call safely while behind the wheel. In reality, hands-free headsets do little to reduce the chances of a crash.
According to a study by the Journal of Safety Research, hands-free devices are just as dangerous when driving as holding a phone in your hand. While hands-free headsets might leave your hands free, talking on the phone is a mental distraction that could increase the chances of an accident.
Myth 6. Warm Up Your Car Before Driving in Cold Weather
This was common advice for many years. Older cars needed to warm up before driving, which involved running a vehicle in place for some time before heading on your way. Modern cars do not need to be warmed up in the winter. And for people with garages, this can be a deadly combination. Many people don’t realize how quickly dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up in the garage, as well as an attached home. According to this report, it can take up to 10 hours before the air you breathe is safe again.
With modern technology and electronic fuel injection, this is no longer necessary. In fact, allowing your car to idle for an extended period of time can actually be wasteful and inefficient. It consumes gas and takes up valuable time that could be used for driving. In reality, your car’s engine will warm up faster when you are driving it, as the motion helps to circulate the engine oil and get it flowing.
Finding Affordable Car Insurance in Texas is Not a Myth
Understanding the truth about these safety myths could help you avoid an accident, as well as being safer overall. Despite your best efforts, there are times when a collision is unavoidable. When accidents happen, you want to have auto insurance coverage that protects you.
Baja Auto Insurance is ready to help you protect yourself, your loved ones, and your vehicle by providing you with good coverage at a fair price.
Our agents are ready to advise you on your policy options. To learn more about how our agents can help you, get a free car insurance quote online, give us a call at 800-401-6870, or drop in one of our locations for a visit.