Green driving tips
It's not necessary to invest in a new high-tech car officially made to capitalise on the drive towards environmentally-friendly motoring. With a few basic changes in driving style, anybody can enjoy a noticeable improvement in efficiency and pollution levels. Even better is the fact that these changes can have a positive long-term effect on fuel costs, insurance bills and quality of life.
Slow down, Schumacher!
Perhaps the single easiest way to make your car more environmentally friendly is just to slow down. The higher the speed, the harder it is for the car to push through the air and to resist the rolling resistance created by sticky modern tyres.
As speeds rise, the energy needed to overcome wind resistance increases dramatically. That's why supercars often need 100bhp more power just to raise their top speeds by a few miles per hour.
Why not set yourself a little challenge? The next time you need to drive a major distance on the motorway, try limiting your speed to say 10mph slower than you would normally drive. If you normally cruise at 80mph, then cruising at 70mph has the added benefit of reducing the risk of speeding tickets.
Monitor how much money you spend on fuel. After a few trips, you are likely to see a big difference, even though the trip probably took only a few minutes longer.
But slowing down has a number of other important benefits. Drivers have more time to figure out what's happening ahead of them and more time to change direction or even to slow down. This leads us to our next tip…
Leave plenty of room ahead
Yes, it's hard to do, especially as other drivers always seem intent on filling up your safety gap. However, if you persevere at maintaining a steady but unrushed cruising speed and leaving plenty of room ahead of you, you may well find something rather magical happens.
With practice, you should find yourself developing a much better ability to predict what is developing up ahead. This works both on motorways and in city driving.
By slowing down just a fraction and giving yourself plenty of room to 'breathe', you should be able to make the same trips without so much accelerating, braking or sudden lane changes.
The end result is that you'll burn up the brakes less, work the clutch less, waste less fuel, leave your passengers unruffled and maybe even start to enjoy your relaxed new driving style. Not only will your health improve but you'll save money. Who can complain about that?