Your car is not an all-powerful, un-crashable mystery machine and to be safe on the road you actually have to know how to drive. Jalopnik readers have picked out the ten things about driving that nobody seems to be able to grasp.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
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10.) AWD will not make your car into Superman
Suggested By: waveridin1959
Why it's misunderstood: No one really seems to understand all-wheel drive. In the dirt, many just think that it's going to be impossible to get stuck, because their AWD will save them. If you're an idiot, you can get yourself stuck in anything.
Out on the roads, it's not hard to find drivers who think that all-wheel drive means your car has brakes that are twice as strong as normal and that you can handle twice the speed in an emergency situation.
Photo Credit: Neil Smith
9.) Your brakes will crap out if you ride them downhill
Suggested By: ejp
Why it's misunderstood: When the brake pedal goes flat to the floor, you know you've been riding the brakes a little bit too long on that mountain road. Use a lower gear and your engine will work as a brake so that you don't end up careening past those guardrails on the way down.
Photo Credit: Szymon Kochański
8.) Turn signals are things that you can use
Suggested By: warsstar
Why it's misunderstood: Use your turn signals before you actually start turning, not halfway through divebombing into my lane. It's a fairly simple concept, and all you have to do is remember to move a little switch before you start your usual changing lanes without checking your blindspots routine.
Photo Credit: TheCanonShot
7.) Traction control won't make up for RWD in the snow
Suggested By: drvanwyk
Why it's misunderstood: A lot of our country's roads just shut down when it starts to snow. There's no need for all the jams and pileups, but we're going to have to set some ground rules before any of that goes away.
First off, stop driving your RWD SUV, truck, or car on the snow like nothing has happened. Your traction control is not going to save you from your stupidity. When none of your wheels have any traction to control, TC won't prevent a crash if you're going way too fast.
Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
6.) All season tires don't really work perfectly in all seasons
Suggested By: ejp
Why it's misunderstood: "Three-season tires" doesn't have a great ring to it, so it's not surprising that you don't exactly get truth in advertising with all-season rubber.
When it starts to snow, it's not like the four horsemen of the apocalypse arrive and make driving impossible, you just need winter tires.
Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images
5.) It is in fact possible to merge safely without losing too much speed
Suggested By: K2THEM
Why it's misunderstood: Just because two lanes are narrowing into one, doesn't mean that you have to come to a dead halt for the cars in the other lane to pass you by. You can safely cut in without killing yourself, which is good, because waiting like a timid fieldmouse is going to take hours and clog up the whole highway.
Photo Credit: Adam Fagan
4.) Brake before a turn
Suggested By: My X-Type is too a real Jaaaaaaag
Why it's misunderstood: Plowing into a corner with the brakes on is bad for traction and its bad for your tires. Your car likes to do one thing at a time and it isn't a great multitasker.
Brake first, then turn. You'll thank us later.
Photo Credit: Nicholas O'Leary
3.) Your mirrors can actually cover most of your blind spots
Suggested By: tiggercat69
Why it's misunderstood: Though it seems like nobody checks their mirrors at all, they're actually pretty useful.
Especially in today's gun slit-window cars, it's important to know that if you adjust your mirrors properly, you can actually see a lot of the road around you. That means you don't have to crane your neck around for twelve second to get ready for a lane change, which is a good thing.
Photo Credit: TLC Fotografie
2.) Pass on left drive on right
Suggested By: Kraakmo
Why it's misunderstood: The left lane is not the fast lane. Just because you think 65 is fast doesn't mean you should hang out there. Move over to the right, because the left lane is for passing.
It's not rocket surgery, people.
Photo Credit: Jason Turgeon
1.) Stomping your brakes will not invariably bring you to a stop better
Suggested By: CobraJoe
Why it's misunderstood: There's ice on the road and you're going too fast. Now is not a good time to slam the brakes. You're trying to veer out of the way of an obstacle in the road. Now is not a good time to slam the brakes.
Just because you push the pedal harder doesn't mean you're going to slow down any faster. Your tires have limits and you need to respect them, or else you'll find yourself locking up in a very bad way.