Debunking the 5 Popular Myths Most Drivers Believe

Coasting in neutral saves fuel

We’ve all done it. The fuel gauge is creeping lower and we remember that pushing in the clutch puts the engine into idle mode, where it consumes a minimal amount of fuel. That’ll hopefully leave you with just enough to get you to the nearest petrol station. So far, so good, right? Wrong… unless the petrol station is a straight stretch with no need to slow down or stop.

This article from Popular Mechanics reveals you’d use less fuel driving in gear with your foot off the accelerator. This is because while your car may use little to no fuel to stay in constant motion while coasting, it actually gobbles up a whole lot more when slowing down or stopping. It’s also illegal, dangerous and can damage your engine. So, just don’t do it, okay? Promise? Good. 

Old cars are safer

Ever drive past an accident scene after a collision between an older car and a newer one? We’ll bet the newer car looked like it took a proper beating. This is because the newer car has crumple zones, designed to absorb the energy of the collision, so the driver and passengers don’t have to. This is clear from the recent Global NCAP Crash Test of the TATA Zest, which scored a 4-star safety rating.

Now compare that crash test with this compilation of older car crash tests from the 1960s. Which car would you rather take a bump in?

Airbags and seatbelts are actually a deathtrap

Please resist the urge to slow-clap when someone tells you they don’t wear their seatbelts and prefer to drive a car without airbags, because they’d rather be “thrown clear” of an accident. First of all, they’d have to go through a glass windscreen head-first, miraculously miss being hit by any of the other cars involved, which could be spinning out in any direction after the impact, and then there’s the landing. Have you seen the skid marks tires make in an accident? Now imagine those tires are your skin. Ouch!

Although you may get a bit of fabric burn from your seatbelt and wrist, and nose injuries are fairly common when airbags deploy, at least the rest of you (like your brain and vital organs) will be insulated from the worst of the accident.

Drive with your hands at 10 and 2

Talking about airbag-induced wrist injuries… it’s no longer recommended that you drive with your hands in the “10 and 2” position. In the event of an accident, unless you don’t mind punching yourself in the face when the airbag deploys.  The “9 and 3” position ensures your hands are clear of the airbag.

Speed cameras have a 10% leeway

“Oh, he’s only going ten kilometers over, so I won’t fine him,” said no speed camera ever. That’s because speed cameras can’t talk, or even think. They have settings and they stick to them. If they’re set to go off when someone drives past going over 80km/h, then they’ll do just that.

The assessor who checks the validity of these snapshots back at HQ might cut you some slack because they know some vehicle speedometers are flawed and can read up to 10km slower than they are actually going. However, this is happening less and less, as newer cars are more likely to be accurate. So, don’t speed. Just imagine if you’re car does have a flawed speedometer and you’re going another 10km over the speed limit, because you think you can get away with it. The camera could catch you going 20km/h faster than you should be. That’s a hefty fine!