Driving Safety: Myth or Fact?

Recently, a chain email was circulated about tips for driving in the rain and snow. After reading this email, I was very intrigued. Were these tips actually true? Will wearing sunglasses at night and during rain really increase my visibility?

Because I am always looking for ways to improve my safety on the road, I decided to do some research into driving safety myths. Surprisingly, the email I received had quite a few good tips, but some of them needed clarification.

Myth: During rain, put on any pair of sunglasses to increase your visibility

Only polarized sunglasses may increase your visibility. During rain, snow or fog, light waves are scattered at many angles, making it difficult to see. Polarized sunglasses have polarizing filters that block out the obstructive horizontal light ray, possibly making it easier to see details such as road marking through rain, and helping to see further in fog or smog for daytime driving. Unfortunately, normal sunglasses cannot reduce glare as effectively as polarized sunglasses.

When purchasing polarized sunglasses, choose a reputable brand that specializes in sunglasses for sports or driving. While these sunglasses may be slightly more expensive, they will also work more effectively.

Fact: When it is snowing or raining, never drive in the rain with cruise control.

While you may believe that driving at a consistent speed in the rain will increase your safety, driving with cruise control when the roads are wet is actually more dangerous. According to The National Safety Commission (TNSC), cruise control may cause your car’s tires to lose contact with the pavement and hydro-plane, even at speeds as low as 35 mph.

During heavy rain, TNSC recommends that you take your foot off the gas pedal to slow down your car. Unless you have anti-lock breaks, you should never apply the brakes until your car’s speed is reduced. Because cruise control can only be disabled when you apply your brakes, it is best to turn it off before the roads are wet to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.