As long as there have been cars, there have been myths and old wives’ tales about driving. Some are more enduring than others, and soon become ‘facts’ – but, rest assured, we’ve found out the real answers for you.
It’s more efficient to open the windows than to use the air-conditioning
Many people think that because the air-con uses up fuel, it is more efficient just to roll down the windows and cool off the old-fashioned way. However, although operating the AC does use up fuel, just as much fuel is used by rolling down the windows; the increased drag on the car means the car has to work harder to maintain its speed.
It’s illegal to eat or smoke when driving
Whilst it’s illegal to talk on a mobile phone, or drink beverages of the alcoholic variety – everything else is fair game – snacking, soft beverages and smoking are all perfectly legal. Except, of course, if they compromise the quality of your driving; you could be prosecuted for careless driving if you are distracted by your snack or cigarette. In fact, a study by students at Leeds University found that drivers who ate at the wheel were 44% slower than usual – so only snack if it’s safe to do so.
If a speed camera doesn’t flash, they didn’t catch me speeding
This one is certainly not true – there are many different types of speed cameras used on British roads, and only one, the Gatso, flashes to take a picture of you speeding. Another driving myth is that you can drive 10% over the speed limit (44mph in a 40 zone, for example) and not attract a conviction, but you will be liable for prosecution no matter how far over the limit you are if you are caught. Stay on the safe side, and always stick to the speed limit.
Premium petrol is always better
Despite the misleading name, premium petrol isn’t cleaner or more capable than the regular stuff, it’s just less combustible. Unless your owner’s manual says that your car requires premium petrol, there’s no real need to invest in more expensive fuel.