Image Credit: Big Props to Thomas Wood BA (Hons) Graphic Design
A few months ago I did ‘6 Car Myths You Probably Believe’, it was a lot of fun to research and write and you all seemed to enjoy it so I said I would be back for more and here we are. By the way if you haven’t read the first one, now might be a good time, don’t worry this one will still be here when you come back. I promise.
I’ve done some serious internet trawling and some of these myths are actually more widespread than the ones I busted in the previous articles. Once again, some of these are costing you money, some of them are plain dangerous and some are just really, really stupid. These are not in any order, don’t skip to the end to find the best one, in fact I might put my favourite in the middle just to mess with you. Or maybe it will be at the end, I haven’t decided yet. The only way to find out is to read on.
The Myth: You are allowed to use your phone while driving your car so long as you aren’t actually moving.
The Truth: We all know that you shouldn’t use your phone while driving, it’s dangerous and if Mr Policeman catches you you’ll get more than a smack on the wrist, namely three points and fine. However some believe that because they aren’t moving they can use their phone. That is wrong.
OMG … I can’t even!
The reality of the situation is that if you are in the driver’s seat with the engine on, you are legally in charge of that vehicle. That means you could be pulled over on the side of the road with the engine on and you could still get three points for using your phone. So you absolutely can land yourself in trouble for using your phone whilst stationery on the road.
I get it, you are in standstill traffic on the motorway, you think to yourself “what difference is it going to make? It’s not like I’m going to crash in to anything, I’m sat still!” While that may be true, it doesn’t mean some lunatic isn’t going to come careering towards you and if you aren’t paying attention how are you going to get out of the way? You won’t get out the way, you’ll be all squished. It’s as much for your own safety as it is everyone else’s.
Also, you really should keep your phone well away from you when you are behind the wheel anyway, if your phone suddenly goes off that’s distracting and you didn’t even have to pick it up.
The Myth: Using washing up liquid, like Fairy for example, to wash your car is fine and there is no point buying proper car detergent.
The Truth: Washing up liquid is actually really bad for your car’s paintwork. Please do not use washing up liquid of any sort to clean your car, honestly.
Sorry, I’ve just this ruined this paint job.
Washing up liquid is really quite abrasive, not something you want to be using on your car. Think about the adverts for that stuff, something along the lines of ‘cleans even the most baked on food’. It doesn’t get that stuff off by asking it politely to move on. It does it with very strong and abrasive cleaning agents. Not something you want on your car unless you’ve baked something on to it and if you have then you are doing it all wrong, buddy.
Washing up liquid will cut through and completely remove any kind of wax finish on your car, opening any little scratches up to the elements ready to start rusting. It will leave streaky marks and swirls your paintwork that just won’t go away. Oh also, it contains a whole bunch of salt just to help speed up that rusting process. The only time you should use washing up liquid to clean your car is when you are stripping it down to re-wax it. Period.
I can’t really make any mocking comments about this one because I used to do this all the time. As in, everything I just told you was news to me as of about half an hour before writing this. It’s my Dad’s fault; he’s always used washing up liquid for his cars. I should probably tell him.
The Myth: If you get caught driving in flip flops, jelly shoes or even barefoot you can go to jail or whatever.
The Truth: This is one you always hear from a friend who heard it from their friend whose Nan’s cat told them. Let me tell you something, that cat is stupid. End of.
You suck, Keith. Get lost.
Have you actually ever known someone, by known someone I mean the real sense of the word, who got in trouble doing this? Of course not. The police can’t tell you what to wear on your feet. That’s the job of the fashion police! Wahay!
No seriously now, come on, there is no law governing what you can wear behind the wheel, however, common sense should probably give you an indication of what you should and shouldn’t. You might technically be allowed to wear flip flops, but should you? Probably not. They are prone to sliding about on foot which isn’t going to help your control of the vehicle.
Jelly shoes? I wore these once, when I was five. I’m not here to judge fashion, but I’m going to anyway, you shouldn’t be wearing these as an adult. Unfortunately we have seen a resurgence of these for adults and they tend to feature a very thick sole which is not ideal for driving. You need to be able to feel the pedal and where it is in its travel range. Not the best footwear for driving.
Uh oh! We’ve got a show off!
Barefoot is actually probably one of the worst because while you probably don’t realise it, you simply don’t have the same braking force that you have when wearing shoes. Next time you are in your car, take you shoe off and press the brake and feel the difference. It’s very noticeable.
All this being said, it’s still not illegal so myth busted.
The Myth: You can only go around a roundabout three times, any more than that and you’ll be sent directly to jail without passing go.
The Truth: You can actually drive around a roundabout as many times as you feel like until you get bored or run out of fuel. There is no specific law against it at all. However, that doesn’t mean police are going to sit there and cheer you on, you will almost certainly get pulled over, told off and sent to bed with no dinner if they catch you doing it.
If you end up driving around a roundabout three times by genuine accident you won’t need to check the sky for the police chopper if you go round once more you might want to think about coming off and working out where exactly you need to be going.
I’ve been sceptical of this one for a long time but I’ve also been one of those guys saying “Hey guys I heard you can’t go around a roundabout more than three times, dunno if that’s true though!” I was part of the problem. I first heard this one when I was very young, on holiday with one of my very old friends; his Dad told me this little gem. Thanks a bunch, Dave!
The Myth: A layer of dirt over your car will protect the paintwork from general wear and tear
The Truth: No, a layer of dirt will not protect the paint on your car. Not only will your car be dirty but it will actually degrade your paint faster.
Please don’t do this.
This sounds like exactly the kind of nonsense I would have told my dad when he told me to clean my car. I can also kind of see the logic behind it, flawed as it may be. If your paint is covered with dirt then surely the sun can’t get to it to make it fade and little scratches are less likely to occur because the dirt will just come off in place of the paint.
Unfortunately for all you lazy people out there, leaving your car dirty is a sure fire way to permanently ruin the paint on your vehicle. The kind of filth that gets on your car in general day to day driving can often have salt deposits in it, a great way to speed up the rusting process. Dirt is also very abrasive, so if some hilarious prankster decides to write ‘wash me’ on your dirty car, that writing will likely end up etched in to your paint in some degree.
The Myth: So long as you stay within 10% of the speed limit you can speed all you like.
The Truth: While your 10% rule might float with the cameras, there is nothing stopping a policeman pulling you over for doing even 1 mph over if he is in a bad mood.
Speed cameras are actually calibrated to only go off when you are going 10% + 2mph faster than the speed limit. Please see table below for examples.
So, as you can see from my wonderful table above, the NPCC (National Police Chiefs’ Council), decided that speed cameras should operate with a degree of leniency. The reason for this is actually a very sensible one, speed cameras cannot judge situations, they just analyse speed. It is very easy to stray over the speed limit by a couple of miles and hour for a moment and land yourself with a fine and some points to boot, giving a 10% buffer stops everybody getting largely unnecessary speeding fines!
Also, you know that myth you heard about speedometers being set to read 10% higher than you are actually going? Well it’s not a myth. Yup, they are often set to indicate 10% faster than you are actually going. That means even if you accidentally found yourself hitting 80mph on the motorway you would probably be okay when you end up in front of a speed camera. There can be no complaining if you do end netting yourself a speeding fine from a camera because you would have to be doing quite a bit more than you should have been when you combine the lenient cameras and dialled up speedometers.
PC Gary doesn’t care about your 10% rule
However, this ten percent rule does not apply to Mr Policeman and he will apply his judgement based on the situation. Going a couple of miles per hour over the limit on the motorway? You’ll probably be okay. Going two miles per hour over next to a primary school? Game over son. The speed limit is the speed limit, keep to it and you’ll be fine but just because cameras give you a little bit of wiggle room, that doesn’t mean it’s legal to drive around at those speeds. If you make a habit of travelling 10% over the limit the whole time you are very likely to end up with a fine and some points for your trouble.
There we go then, six more wonderful car myths. I hope you enjoyed them. If you enjoy reading goofy stuff like this please browse some of our other similar blogs below!