The driving test for learner drivers now includes eco safe driving as a recognised, and proven style of driving that contributes to road safety while also reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
One of the main factors in increasing road safety is the emphasis on planning to be prepared in advance for potential hazards. By improving your hazard perception and planning skills, you can make maximum use of your vehicle’s momentum, engine braking and engine torque (the energy of the turning effect of the wheels). By doing this, you can reduce damage to the environment.
Hazard awareness and planning
You should always be scanning all around as you drive. Check the far distance, mid and foreground, also check behind and to the sides by frequent use of your mirrors.
Early recognition of potential hazards is important, but you need to act correctly on what you have seen.
Anticipate problems and take appropriate action in good time to ensure you’re travelling at the correct speed when dealing with a hazard. By this eco safe driving tip, you will avoid
- late braking
- harsh acceleration
Both of these actions lead to higher fuel consumption.
Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front as this will help you to plan your driving. Do not always use the brake when the car in front of you slows down. By just taking your foot off the accelerator, your vehicle will then slow down, and a reduction in fuel consumption will occur. However, you may wish to use your brakes to advise cars behind you that you are slowing down. If you plan early for hazards with an eco safe driving method
- you will avoid causing other road users to bunch up
- traffic will flow more smoothly
- you will use less fuel
To drive a car as fuel efficiency as possible will take a lot of practice, but over a period of time you will succeed and find you are not filling up with fuel so often.
Use the accelerator wisely
Driving with economy in mind means the use of the accelerator should be carried out smoothly and progressively. When appropriate, take your foot off the accelerator and allow the momentum of the car to take you forward.
Taking your foot off the accelerator when going downhill can save a considerable amount of fuel without any loss of control.
When possible, avoid rapid acceleration or heavy braking as this leads to higher fuel consumption and more pollution and can reduce fuel consumption by about 15% as well as reducing wear and tear.
Selecting the right gear
Selecting the right gear at the right time is a driving skill that will come over some time. It is not always necessary to change up to or down through each gear. It is possible to miss out intermediate gears (know as block ‘gear changing’). It helps to reduce the amount of time you are accelerating, and as this is when fuel consumption is at its highest.
As soon as conditions allow, use the highest gear possible without making the engine struggle.