“Other drivers have to let me onto the highway!”
Actually, no, they don’t.
As irritating as it may be to look over to a fellow driver hoping they’ll open a gap and let you merge onto the highway, and instead they leave no room whatsoever – Ontario law actually doesn’t require them to help you. For the most part, it’s up to you to merge onto highways in a safe and timely manner.
This might be a morsel of good news if you find yourself frustrated at drivers who wait until the last second to merge and butt into traffic. Driving to avoid accidents should always be paramount, but you shouldn’t rely on others to always cooperate.
“I should brake if my car hydroplanes.”
No, you really shouldn’t.
Hydroplaning occurs when a layer of water slips between the vehicle's tire and the road. Due to poor road drainage, the tire can't move through the water, and instead glides on top of it. The rubber won’t touch the road itself, so the vehicle loses traction and the driver loses control of speed.
Braking or steering won’t help, because the tires aren't in contact with the road. Think of the wet road like a sheet of ice, so instead of slamming on the brakes or swerving out of the way, you should keep a firm grip on the wheel, take your foot of the brake and ensure your wheels are pointing forward so you don’t drift into a different lane or off the road.
“Being tired won’t affect my driving.”
You may think you’re impervious to drowsy driving, but in fact, it can be as deadly as drunk driving. Research by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation suggests that 26 per cent of all fatal and injury crashes are estimated to be related to fatigued or drowsy driving.
If you think a cup of joe or energy drink will curb your sleepiness, remember that caffeine takes several minutes to act. It can keep you more alert for a short time, but it won’t completely get rid of your sleep debt. Always assess your mood and level of wakefulness before you drive, and if you feel it may not be safe to get behind the wheel, don’t.
Road safety myths are abundant in the driving community. Regulations can easily be misunderstood and inaccuracies can spread like wildfire. Instead of simply listening to word of mouth, do your research on the Ontario government website and reputable organizations like Young Drivers Canada to make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest laws and practices.
Let us know which of these myths surprised you the most and tweet us @OnliaCA #OnliaCA.