Safety Tips for Every Driver
Coming from a company that strives to increase the safety and efficiency of driving in fleets, we at SafeMode have compiled a list of ten driving tips and techniques that you can adopt to become a better driver. We have come up with these pieces of advice from our platform’s two overarching goals: decreasing the number of car accidents due to the fault of the driver and reducing gas consumption.
Whether you’re just learning to drive and are a new driver or are an experienced driver, these tips are always important to keep the roads safe and reduce the costs of driving:
Accelerate smoothly and brake gradually:
Unnecessary accelerating and frequent repetitive braking wastes a fair amount of fuel and can decrease the efficiency of your brakes, as well as make your passengers uncomfortable.
Additionally, a high frequency of accelerating and braking, does not actually save that much time, but will certainly increase your gas bill, as well as overuse your brakes, which will then require more frequent repairs.
Drive in a high gear:
The gear at which a car drives most efficiently varies from car to car, but generally can be found between 1,500 and 2,500 revolutions per minute. Automatic cars will shift to these high gears if you ease back on the accelerator once the car starts to speed up. For people driving cars with a stick shift, you will have to manually adjust the gears, moving into a high gear as soon as is practical given the conditions.
Drive the speed limit:
Not only will this increase your safety and that of those around you, but it will also significantly reduce fuel consumption. Cars use 25% more gas when driving at 68 mph versus at 56 mph. Driving the speed limit can cause a big difference in fuel consumption and spending.
Keep your tires optimally inflated:
While it can be annoying to take the time to periodically check to make sure your tires are optimally inflated, this is an easy way of improving fuel economy. When tires are under-inflated, they cause increased friction with the ground. In effect, this requires the engine to work harder than usual to counteract the increased rolling resistance. In some cases, a higher rolling resistance can lead to a loss of two miles per gallon in fuel efficiency.
Turn your car off if you are stopped for more than 30 seconds:
There has been an incredible amount of development in car technology, so it is no longer necessary to warm up engines before driving. At around the 30 second mark, your car is causing more emissions and wasting more fuel than if you had turned off your engine when you began idling and then restarted your car.
Do not use your car for storage:
Lighter cars have better fuel efficiency because the engine does not have to work as hard to move forward as heavier cars. An extra 100 pounds of weight is estimated to increase your fuel bill by approximately 2%. Therefore, it is smart to only transport necessary items. Furthermore, cars drive more efficiently and are safer to be in when the center of gravity is closer to the ground, so if you can carry large objects inside rather than on top of your car, that would also be beneficial towards fuel consumption and safety.
Keep windows closed when driving fast:
Similar to making sure that your tires are properly inflated, if your windows are open while driving at high speeds, the wind moving through the windows increases drag. Open windows at high speeds can lead to up to a 20% increase in fuel consumption. That being said, it is important to note that air conditioners also cause an increase in fuel consumption, but only by up to 10%. Therefore, the choice between having open windows or using the air conditioner should be made based on how fast you are driving. As a general rule of thumb, if you are driving on the highway, choosing to use the air conditioner is a more economical decision.
Make sure your engine is tuned:
Bringing in your car to the shop and getting it tuned can feel like a hassle and it is usually not very cheap. However, having an engine that is working properly will increase efficiency and decrease fuel costs in the long term. Additionally, slightly more frequent tune ups are often less expensive than only going in to the shop when serious issues arise.
Now, here are a couple tips to take into consideration to improve your safety and those around you while behind the wheel:
Focus on Driving:
In most scenarios, it is important to have all of your focus on the task at hand. This is especially true when driving, as your life and those around you are dependent on your ability to not be distracted. You can take actions to ensure this from the moment you get in your car. It can be easier to focus on driving when you cannot look at your phone, so keep it out of reach. That way, even if you hear a notification, you cannot pick up your phone due to it being inaccessible. Additionally, when you get in the driver’s seat, make sure to adjust the seat, mirrors, and climate control. If all of these aspects are where you want them to be before you start driving, you do not need to divert your attention from driving in order to change them while on the road.
Drive defensively and be aware of your surroundings:
Even if you are driving in a cautious and safe way, other drivers on the road may not be doing the same. Thus, it is very important to drive defensively and constantly be aware of the other cars around you. It is easy to believe that all drivers will drive safely, but it only takes one driver’s actions to cause an accident so learn to expect the unexpected. One very easy way to adapt to this is to follow the three-second rule: always keep at least three seconds of space between you and the driver in front of you. This gives you time to react to their actions if necessary. If there is bad weather, double this to six seconds to account for the way that rainy or snowy conditions can impact your visibility and your car’s ability to respond to your actions successfully.