What is Eco Driving?

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Eco Driving revolves around driving from A to B as frugally as possible. The transport sector requires a lot of (non) renewable energy— and it’s the biggest compromiser of air quality today. To help limit this, eco-safe driving lowers fuel consumption: which contributes to today’s climate change action. On average, eco-safe drivers would experience reduced road accidents and fuel costs. Reduced accidents will also help you build up your no claims bonus and be rewarded with cheaper car insurance in Northern Ireland and the UK. But how achievable is it? Below, we’ve compiled more information on how you can apply it for everyday use.

Eco-Safe driving in driving tests

In driving / riding tests, your examiner would assess how much you adopt eco-safe driving: which is characterised by your control of the vehicle and ability to plan ahead while driving. This would also be present in theory tests that would question you on how to maintain a vehicle. Place special care towards:

  • Your use of gears
  • Braking gently / braking on time
  • Accelerating gently
  • Avoiding congestion zones during travel

Please note that while eco-safe driving is a minor part of your test, not meeting its criteria may affect your success in achieving a licence. If you swap your provisional licence for a full licence, then you most likely will need a good deal on young driver insurance or short term learner driver test insurance for retaking your driving test. 

Vehicle Control

  • Controlling gears: Using block and higher gears only when needed will help reduce fuel waste. For further energy-saving, always avoid intermediate gear changes. Contrary to belief, coasting is actually a wasteful driving practice! 
  • Controlling brakes: Accelerators produce the most emissions in a vehicle. Avoid using harsh brakes and accelerate only when necessary. By developing an ‘acceleration sense’, you would use acceleration pedals softly— for speeding up and slowing down— to avoid brake reliance. This is how eco drivers experience a 40% reduced rate of road accidents. 

Route Planning

  • Route-planning: Eco-safe drivers strive for smooth and efficient travels. Watch out for rush hour times and congestion zones: this will help shorten your driving time. For longer journeys, try looking for motorways and shortcuts. Installing navigation / traffic apps on your phone may help with planning.
  • Assessing the road: Noting what road lies ahead will help with planning. For instance, easing and driving at a safe speed will help with driving downhill.

Top Tips for Eco-Safe driving for Driving Test and Daily Driving:

  • Only using the AC / heater when essential
  • Drive within the speed limits
  • Switch to high-quality oil to avoid clogged air filters and emitting harmful gas
  • Avoid idling and turn off your engine while you’re stuck in traffic
  • Get your vehicle checked regularly to prevent engines from being degraded
  • Check your fuel economy 
  • Try to avoid travelling during off-peak times 
  • Don’t ‘warm up the engine’ as modern cars can start immediately
  • Consider turning many trips into one big trip to save fuel 

Other factors to consider

Other external factors outside of your driving style may contribute to fuel waste. Consider the following: 

  • 1. Tyre quality: Your tyres should be regularly inflated. If not, this would wear your vehicle and cause delay in driving. It’s important to also check your spare tyres.
  • 2. Reducing weight: Is your car carrying something unnecessary? If so, removing objects from your boot may help reduce the wear + tear of your tyres. Removing car components such as bicycle racks and roofs may help reduce weight on your car. And why? Because lighter vehicles also mean lighter use of fuel.
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