Drivers Fact Sheets

Eco-Safe Driving

Eco-Safe driving is a recognised and proven style of driving that contributes to road safety whilst reducing fuel consumption and emissions. If you make these changes you could reduce your fuel bill. Motor vehicles on the road today contribute to climate change because of the carbon dioxide (CO2) their engines produce. Reducing these emissions is a lot easier than you think.

By following these eco-safe driving guidelines you will be a safer driver. Eco-safe driving means contributing to road safety as well as reducing your fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. Making changes to your driving or riding style will also save you money.

These Are The Key Messages

Tyres

Check regularly and keep at recommended pressure.

Weight

Don’t carry unnecessary weight.
Remove roof-rack/luggage boxes when not needed to reduce air resistance.

Speed

Don’t exceed speed limits, accelerate gently.
Consider using cruise control where it would be appropriate.

Engine

Turn off your engine if you are likely to have a prolonged wait.
Use air conditioning only when you need to.

Route Planning

Plan your route to avoid known congestion points.
Try to travel during off-peak times.
Consider sharing the vehicle and avoid unnecessary short journeys.

Controls

Always try to use the vehicle controls as smoothly as possible, with particular attention to:
Starting and moving away
Accelerating
Using gears
Driving at an appropriate speed.

These measures reduces wear and tear on your vehicle and will help in reducing CO2.

Government Agencies

These agencies have invested a great deal of time and effort in developing the principles of ‘Eco-safe driving’. Their aim is to reduce harmful emissions by anticipating road traffic conditions and acting in good time, rather than reacting to them at the last moment.

During the process they looked at the following areas, and these have now been included in the revised style of driving:

  1. Enhanced hazard perception and awareness skills – identify hazards early, allowing adequate time to react – this will result in braking and acceleration that is smooth and progressive. Maintain space around your vehicle and drive calmly.
  1. Selective use of gears – it is not always necessary to change up or down through each gear; try skipping gears. As soon as conditions allow, use the highest possible gear, without making the engine struggle.
  1. Progressive use of accelerator – use the accelerator smoothly and progressively. When appropriate take your foot off the accelerator and allow the momentum of the vehicle to take you forward. Avoid pumping the accelerator as this uses more fuel.
  1. Compliance with speed limits – ensure that your speed is appropriate to the road, traffic and weather conditions. Consider how inappropriate speed can affect fuel consumption and emissions.
  1. Utilisation of engine braking/torque – use engine braking when possible. With your foot fully off the accelerator the engine needs little, if any, fuel.
  1. Use of cruise control – uses cruise control in situations where it would be appropriate – without compromising road safety.

You may already use some of the techniques when you are driving, but even the most experienced driver can benefit from further development.

If you adopt your driving to include these changes you will become a more environmentally friendly, economically aware driver and may enjoy your journeys more as they become less stressful and more comfortable. However, although it is good to be aware of environmental issues and save fuel it is even more important that you do not compromise your safety and that of other road users while you are doing so. At all times you should be prepared to adapt to changing conditions and it may be that you have to sacrifice fuel saving for safety.

The Driving Standards Agency has invested a great deal of time and effort in developing the principles of ’Eco-safe driving’. They have demonstrated that savings can be achieved between 5% and 17%, (averaging 8.5%) in fuel used, and as a consequence a reduction in the volume of atmosphere polluting chemicals produced.

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