Save Money with Eco-Driving
Want to save money on your fuel costs? Watch the video to see just how much you could save – in fuel AND time!
Book your free demonstration drive
If you would like to experience a demonstration of eco-safe driving, then contact me and I will be pleased to offer you a free demonstration. If you then decide to book a 2hr training session, then you will be offered a 10% discount on the normal hourly rate.
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The following is more detailed information on how to drive eco-style. The video above gives all the information you need, but you may want to read this and try to apply the principles for yourself:
Descending hills safely will often require the use of a lower gear for safety.
Although modern braking systems are unlikely to fail (through overheating) unless you have a prolonged steep decent (e.g., an alpine pass), relying on the brakes will leave less ‘stopping power’ in reserve in the event of a problem. Compression braking will keep the speed down with little or no need for braking.
The engine management systems of most modern cars will cut off the fuel flow when the engine is in ‘overrun’ – that is when you are moving but your foot is off the gas. Therefore, regardless of how fast your engine is running, as you descend a hill you will be using little or no fuel. However, by using a lower gear you will help to retard the speed through engine (compression) braking and reduce the need for the brakes.
Awareness and planning
This is where eco-driving is at its most safe and efficient, but is also the area of conflict for many experienced drivers. This is because traditionally drivers have been taught to slow the car using the gears for engine braking in order to preserve the life of the brakes. Drivers, therefore, have developed the well-honed skill of changing down a gear, with little regard to engine speed, as soon as they perceive a hazard, and continuing to drop down through the gears until the hazard is reached, or is no longer present. The danger in this method is, at the very moment when the driver needs to have maximum control over his vehicle, he has taken one hand off the steering wheel in order to change gear, added to which the very act of quickly moving one’s arm, in order to shift the gear lever, can have a destabilising effect on the vehicle. Eco-driving requires the driver to do none of this; with both hands remaining firmly on the steering wheel, the driver should begin by releasing his foot from the gas pedal, (fuel is now shut off) then bring in sufficient braking for the distance available to the hazard, and finally select the gear which matches the engine speed at the time when acceleration is once again required. “Brakes/engine braking to slow, gears to go”. The earlier action is taken, by release of the gas pedal, the less braking that is required (in some cases no braking may be needed at all), and the most amount of fuel is saved. Thus safety is never compromised and both brakes and fuel are used efficiently. Try it for yourself: check your fuel consumption when driving ‘normally’ then bring in this eco-safe style and check it again; you may be very pleasantly surprised!
If you still find yourself braking harshly and late, then your hazard identification skills may need some attention
Proactive v reactive driving
And you may also be surprised to learn that driving in this way can actually reduce your journey time, rather than increase it, which is the perception of most people when they think about slowing the car down earlier than they normally would. When a driver drives in a reactive style, he approaches all hazards at speed, keeping his right foot firmly on the gas pedal, then, at the last minute, braking hard, bringing his vehicle to a jerking stop. Uncomfortable for his passengers, disconcerting for other road users, and heavy on both fuel and brake use. Added to which, the driver now has to start off again in first gear which, even if his style is to press hard on the gas to gain maximum power and speed, is still slower than driving in the proactive, eco-safe style described above. This reactive driving style leads to increased fuel consumption, increased wear and tear on the braking system, and increased levels of stress for the driver. And, in many cases, higher collision rates. Wouldn’t you rather be a proactive driver?