Thursday, 6 March 2014

Eco-driving

 
In the tough economic climate, we are all looking for ways to save money where possible, but with price rises appearing left, right and centre, it's easy to lose hope. You could cut your fuel costs by up to 15 per cent, as well as lowering your emissions, by becoming a little greener behind the wheel.

One key principle of the Advanced Driving technique is to plan as far ahead as possible – a method which is also integral to eco-driving. By extending your observation, you can plan your actions sooner and avoid harsh braking. When approaching a roundabout, junction, queue or red traffic lights, ease off the accelerator and slow down sooner – driving at a constant speed is far more fuel-efficient than accelerating and braking.

If you get stuck in a queue of traffic during rush hour or following a collision, bear in mind that you may be waiting there for some time. If it is safe to do so, switch off your engine. But remain alert and prepare for the flow of traffic to resume.

As well as a legal obligation, sticking to the speed limit also brings with it a fuel-saving incentive. Driving smoothly at the speed limit can not only lower your fuel costs by reducing consumption by up to 25 per cent, but can avoid the fines incurred when you get caught speeding.

Rather than working your way through your gears one-by-one, block changing can save on fuel – e.g. going from 2nd to 4th gear when accelerating, or from 5th to 2nd gear when decelerating. This will also limit the time which you spend with only one hand on the steering wheel.

Try to make reversing into parking spaces common practice. If you do all of the manoeuvring before you leave your vehicle, when you return you can drive straight out, allowing the engine to warm up more quickly, as well as improving visibility.

We should all give our cars a quick once over each week, although this task often fails to take priority. Checking your car, and in particular your tyres, becomes even more important when thinking green. Tyre tread depth and pressure should be checked regularly to ensure that you are not burning excess fuel. Tyre pressure should be checked when the wheels are cold to get a true reading.

Although it is advisable to carry an emergency kit in your car in preparation for a breakdown, it is important to balance this with the minimisation of excess weight in your vehicle, as heavy unnecessary items can act as a hindrance to your green intentions. Roof racks should be removed as they add weight to the vehicle and increase wind resistance, both of which increase fuel consumption

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