Interested in becoming a more skilful driver? Visit the Bristol IAM group's website:
The Highway Code has been updated at regular intervals over the years - when was the last time you brushed up on it?
DRIVING TIPS FROM BRISTOL ADVANCED MOTORISTS
TEN FUEL SAVING TIPS
Regardless of the vehicle you are driving, or how fuel efficient or thirsty it is already, there are techniques you can use to save even more fuel and to minimise your impact on the environment.
These techniques have been part of the advanced driving process, delivering eco-benefits through fuel efficiencies since the IAM was established in 1956.
1. Check your tyres. Correct tyre pressures will keep wear down and fuel economy up. Under-inflated tyres need replacing more often (itself an environmental problem) as well as being potentially dangerous. Anybody who has cycled on under-inflated tyres will appreciate how much extra effort is involved! Make a point of checking them at least once a week.
2. Use ‘accelerator sense’. Do you go straight from the accelerator to the brake? You would save fuel if you planned ahead and, rather than have to brake as you hit traffic, eased off the gas earlier gently bringing the speed of the vehicle to a halt as you join a queue. There’s no point in rushing to join a queue and then having to brake to come to a sudden halt. Every time you brake you have wasted the fuel used to get you to the speed from which you had to brake!
3. Try to "feather" the throttle as you reach your cruising speed. Doing 60mph uses almost 25 per cent less fuel than at 70mph and a smoother driving style can bring significant fuel saving.
4. Never coast in neutral or with the clutch disengaged to save fuel, especially downhill, because if your engine does cut-out you will lose power steering and possibly brakes. By keeping the engine of a modern car engaged and in gear when descending a hill your fuel will be cut off to zero automatically - whereas coasting downhill with the car in neutral will actually use fuel to keep it ticking over.
5. Reduce the drag factor by removing roof racks and carriers when not in use. Driving with the window open also increases drag and lowers fuel economy. Remove unnecessary boot luggage; avoid heavy accessories and wide tyres that add rolling resistance. Air conditioning lowers fuel economy so use the vent settings as much as possible instead.
6. Reverse in when you park. When you start off again, the engine will be cold and at its most fuel inefficient. If you can drive smoothly away without having to reverse when the engine is cold, not only will you save fuel you will also have better visibility.
7. Ask yourself: "Do I really need to drive?" It's the shortest journey - less than two miles - which causes the most pollution and inefficiency in terms of fuel consumption. A straining cold engine will produce 60 per cent more pollution than a warm one. Yet it's these shorter journeys that are ideal for walking or cycling.
8. Plan your route. A bit of forethought can save much wear and tear - for the car, and the driver. Try to take the most direct route and go off peak if possible. Sitting in congestion means you are doing zero miles per gallon. If you have to commute by car, think about car sharing, Park and Ride schemes or public transport.
9. Have your vehicle serviced regularly. This helps maintain efficient running and good economy. Inefficient, under-serviced engines can reduce fuel economy by ten per cent or more. Catalytic converters are environmentally friendly - but only if they are properly maintained.
10. Here’s a last thought; Be a tank miser. Why fill the tank up to the very brim? If you do, you will be carrying around additional fuel, which in turn means the engine has to work harder for the same speed.
For more information on becoming an Advanced Driver, telephone 07071 201173 or email