What does ecosafe driving achieve?
The emphasis is on hazard awareness and planning ahead. By looking well ahead, you’ll have plenty of time to deal with hazards safely and won’t need to brake sharply. This will also reduce damage to the environment.
Eco-safe driving contributes to road safety while also being environmentally friendly, and helpful in reducing your fuel costs since it saves fuel.
It doesn’t contribute to the result of your practical driving test. However, it is still a very useful thing to learn.
Tips for eco safe driving
- Check your tyre pressure regularly and ensure your tyres are always inflated to the recommended pressure.
- Avoid carrying any unnecessary weight in your vehicle.
- Remove roof racks from the top of your car when they’re not in use as this will reduce air resistance.
- Maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of you. This will help you to plan your driving so you don’t have to make sudden changes.
- Stick to speed limits.
- Accelerate gently. Accelerating quickly uses more petrol.
- Brake gently and avoid late braking.
- When conditions allow, use the highest gear possible, without making the engine struggle as this is easier on the engine.
- Consider using cruise control where appropriate.
- Avoid idling for long periods of time. Turn off your engine if you’re likely to be waiting long.
- Use air conditioning only when necessary.
- Plan your route to avoid congestion points and travel at off-peak times so your travel time is shorter.
- Check your fuel consumption regularly to make sure you are getting the most from your vehicle.
- When parking, try to reverse into the parking space so you can drive straight out of it. Lots of manoeuvring whilst the engine is cold can use a lot of fuel.
- Keeping your vehicle well maintained will reduce fuel consumption.
More detailed tips from the pros
The UK car driving test guide for examiners includes these points:
Changing down to lower gears when the road speed is too high is not considered an ‘Eco-safe driving’ technique. It uses fuel unnecessarily, as does needless harsh acceleration and using the higher rev range between upward gear changes. Doing so is a waste of fuel with no gain in safety or performance.
A driver should understand the capabilities of his/her vehicle and should be able to take advantage of the power/torque characteristics of the engine by utilising the highest gear possible without causing the engine to labour. The ability to utilise a lower ‘rev’ range should ensure that fuel is not being used unnecessarily and therefore fewer pollutants will be released through the exhaust system.
Needlessly stopping then moving away from rest has a detrimental effect on fuel consumption. An Eco-safe driver will keep the vehicle on the move whenever and wherever it is safe to do so. This technique can be demonstrated at junctions, roundabouts, slow moving traffic and when negotiating other hazard situations with no compromise to road safety. Keeping a vehicle on the move uses less fuel to regain momentum and demonstrates sound Eco-safe driving principles.
If a candidate is driving on an open road and has to reduce speed to comply with a change in speed limit or road and traffic conditions, he/she should be able to do so by responding early. This will allow timely use of the accelerator to use ‘engine braking’ to assist the vehicle in slowing down smoothly. The alternative of not using this technique is to brake late, which uses more fuel and is not a demonstration of effective Eco-safe driving principles.