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Just as with everything else, there’s a lot of bad advice out there about driving. And driving advice may be even worse than advice on other subjects, since most people can drive, and most people consider themselves to be experts on the subject. So, whether it comes from a driving instructor or a man down the pub, here’s the worst of the worst, the driving advice that could land you in the hospital…

Air Bags and Hand Positions

Traditionally, driving schools the world over have taught students to grip the steering wheel at ten and two o’clock. However, there’s a rumour going around that with the advent of air bags that this is now dangerous, and can lead to you breaking your arms if you’re in an accident and the air bag goes off. This same rumour says that police and driving instructors now recommend that you hold the wheel at eight and four o’clock. This is completely wrong. The rules are still the same, ten and two. There are two reasons for this. One is that the eight and four position will lead to lazy driving, since your hands are low and your arms often resting on your thighs. This is more than enough to land you in hospital if you’re not paying attention to your driving. The other reason is that you have far less control of delicate steering with your hands in that position, resulting in having to tear the wheel around if something appears in the road. Ten and two is safe. Eight and four is not.

Exactly How Many Car Lengths?

So, you’ve probably been told that you should stay at least two car lengths behind the car in front in normal driving conditions, and three in snowy or icy conditions. However, safety isn’t measured in car lengths, but in time. Your following distance needs to take into account how long it will take you to stop, which needs to take into account your speed rather than distance. The correct advice is that you should be six seconds behind the car in front in normal conditions, and ten in bad weather conditions. Following the car length rule could land you in hospital, depending on the speed you’re driving…

Skid Steering…

So, the old advice says that if you start to skid you should steer in the direction of the skid. However, there’s a new piece of advice that says with the advent of more front wheel drive cars you should now steer in the opposite direction of the skid. This is ridiculous. Whichever kind of steering you have, steering in the direction of the skid (as long as you don’t over correct) will help you regain control of your vehicle, and then gradually bring the vehicle to a stop. Steering in the opposite direction of the skid will not do anything to make your vehicle stop, although it will make an impressive screeching noise, just like in the movies.

Speeding Up

So, the vehicle in front of you is doing the speed limit, and you want to overtake. Popular wisdom says that you should speed up, above the speed limit, in order to accomplish this over taking within a safe time limit. What this advice completely ignores is that if the vehicle in front of you is doing the speed limit there is absolutely no reason at all that you should want to overtake it. What you should do is slow your own speed below the speed limit until you are at a safe following distance, and then proceed back up to the speed limit, leaving the car in front to go on his merry way. Breaking the speed limit to overtake could land you in trouble.

Phil Turner runs his insurance through a car insurance comparison website every year and always finds some way to get a better deal. He has a good driving record because he ignores every  piece of bad advice that less experienced drivers give him.