As a personal injury attorney I deal with hundreds of car accident cases every year and we hear all sorts of "safety tips" from various drivers that can actually lead to more dangers and risks. Here we discuss 5 such commonly heard "driving safety" myths.
MYTH #1: Under-inflated tires increase traction
This is very commonly heard, especially in colder areas with increased rain and snowfall. This myth is far from the truth as under-inflated tires reduce safety, performance, and effectiveness.
Further remember that in colder temperatures, your tires can lose approximately one pound of inflation for every 10-degree decrease in temperature.
Always keep your tires inflated at the vehicle's recommended inflation rate which is listed on the inside of the car door.
MYTH #2: Keep car doors unlocked while driving so they don't jam in case you crash
Approximately 10,000, people die each year due to injuries sustained while being ejected out of a vehicle in a collision. It happens more than you think. For this reason, your car doors should always be locked when you are driving your vehicle.
I've heard people argue about the risk of being trapped in a locked vehicle after a collision. But, most emergency responders today are able to extract people from such vehicles with relative ease using modern tools. At least for me, I prefer to be locked in my car for a bit, rather than to be shot out of it.
Make sure your car doors are locked at all times when you are driving.
MYTH #3: Safest driving position for your arms is at the 10 and 2 o'clock position
We probably all learned this at driving school when getting our license.
But it turns out this is actually a dangerous position to have your arms. Airbags can deploy at up to 200 miles per hour, and can lead to broken arms, facial lacerations, and other injuries if your arms are placed at the 10 and 2 o'clock position.
To avoid such airbag injuries, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping your arms and hands at the 9 and 3 o'clock position with at least a 10 inch space between the airbag in the steering wheel and your collar bone.
Spread the knowledge!
MYTH #4: Using a hands-free device to talk on the cellphone is safe
At this point, enough studies have been done to show that using a hands-free device to talk on the phone while driving may be safer than holding the phone directly, but it definitely is still not safe.
When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cites "driver distraction" as a cause for 25% of all traffic collisions, they are referring to any instances where the driver is distracted, including instances where the driver is using the phone, talking to passengers, or merely being around passengers who are talking on their cellphone.
As a driver, your focus should be on the road and safely navigating to your destination. Keep cellphone usage to a minimum even if you utilize a hands-free device.
MYTH #5: Backseat passengers don't need to wear their seat-belt
It always shocks me how frequently people choose to not wear their seat-belts when in the backseat of a car, especially when in taxis or ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft.
Sitting in the back seat can create a false sense of safety. But remember that un-belted passengers are at risk of not getting airbag protection. In a violent crash, it is possible to be thrown through the windshield or around the hard interiors of the vehicle. None of this is worth the tiny inconvenience of strapping on that belt, so if you are the driver always insist that all passengers wear their seat-belts.