Fleet News

Keep calm - and help save the planet

KEEPING calm in the car can be good for your health and also for the environment according to the RAC Foundation and the Energy Saving Trust, launching their top ten tips for stress free driving today.

According to research carried out by the RAC Foundation, the results of spending 10-15 minutes a day in quiet contemplation or meditation when driving are an increase in energy levels, greater creatively, higher sexual potency and the willingness to strive to meet challenges.

The study concluded that if a driver gets into the right frame of mind, they can finish their daily journey in a more serene state than when they began it. Driving more carefully also cuts dangerous emissions by reducing fuel consumption, which ultimately also means financial savings.

The foundation and the Energy Saving Trust are calling on motorists to use cars in a more efficient way, by avoiding harsh acceleration and heavy braking, using the gearbox efficiently, and sticking to speed limits. By taking simple steps everyone can learn to leave their stress at the car door.

1. Plan your journey carefully to avoid congestion, roadworks and getting lost. Allow plenty of time for the trip. Never drive for more than two hours without taking a break.

2. Before setting off adjust the mirrors, seating and heating / ventilation for maximum comfort. Maintain a constant flow of fresh air into the car.

3. Vehicle breakdowns can be stressful. Carry out routine checks regularly and ensure your car is regularly serviced and well maintained. Check your tyre pressure regularly; under inflated tyres wear out more quickly and can increase fuel consumption by up to three per cent.

4. Drive defensively - avoiding harsh acceleration and heavy braking where possible. Pulling away too fast uses up to 60 per cent more fuel.

5. Be tolerant of other road users and errors they may make. Listen to relaxing music, or practice breathing exercises to keep calm.

6. Use the gearbox efficiently - changing gear at a more modest engine speed can reduce fuel consumption by up to 15 per cent.

7. Drive off immediately when starting from cold - idling to heat the engine wastes fuel and causes rapid engine wear.

8. Avoid short journeys - a cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel, while catalytic converters can take five miles to become effective. Take a walk in the fresh air to the local shops instead.

9. Stick to speed limits and make your fuel go further - driving at 70mph uses up to 30 per cent more fuel than at 50mph.

10. If you are stuck in a jam, switch off - turning off the engine after two minutes will save fuels and cut all emissions.

A new energy rating labelling system for cars, similar to those displayed on washing machines and fridges, will soon allow motorists to see at a glance whether their potential new car is green, clean and lean.

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: 'Seventy two per cent of commuters outside of London and Glasgow use the car to get to work, and UK workers spend an average of 22 minutes commuting each way - but this is nearly always seen as a negative experience.

'By taking simple steps to reduce the likelihood of vehicle breakdown, and getting stuck in jams, motorists can turn their driving experience into a pleasurable stress free journey. Motorists can also feel satisfied in the knowledge that by avoiding harsh acceleration and braking, and sticking to speed limits, they will soon feel the benefits in their wallets as they will be using less fuel.'

Richard Tarboton, head of TransportEnergy business unit for the Energy Saving Trust said: 'Road transport is one of the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions in the UK and continues to grow despite increasing awareness of the damaging effects carbon dioxide has on our environment.

'Householders across the UK are already helping to counteract the negative effects their homes have on the environment by investing in energy efficiency recommended goods and other energy saving products such as cavity wall insulation. What we would like to see is this positive work extended beyond the home to include the family car.'

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