Kolawole Ajayi: Creating a Better Environment Through Eco Driving
Driving is seen to some as a hobby, while to others as a full time job. Whichever way this is viewed, driving entails the movement of vehicles from one place to another. And to have this done efficiently, it requires the acquisition of an in-depth knowledge about driving, road signs, effective and efficient road usage, accommodation of other road users, understanding and maintenance of vehicles.
So, in order to internalize and utilize adequately the aforementioned, it is pertinent drivers understand and adopt the driving style called “Eco Driving”.
Eco driving is a driving style that aids daily maintenance of vehicles, saves cost, energy, time, reduces air pollution and road crashes. And to achieve these, the following techniques are to be practiced;
Drive smoothly at lower engine speed
Drivers are to accelerate gradually and smoothly, because the more often and hard we depress the accelerator, the more fuel flows. Also, you may wish to know that most vehicles of this generation are better suited for low engine speeds. Which means, whenever vehicles are driven at high engine speeds, as it is often noticed on highways, they are being used wrongly. As a matter of fact, this helps increase vehicles’ downtime. You may be puzzled by the frequent breakdowns of your vehicles, I’m sure it is as a result of how they are driven.
As humans, the faster we run, the quicker we get tired. And to guard against dehydration, we take in more fluids. This same principle can be related to vehicles, because the more a vehicle speeds, the more fuel is needed to power on. Also, when the speed of an engine doubles, the air resistance increases by four and by this, the car needs more energy to overcome the air. So, in order to reduce the workload of vehicles, drivers are advised to avoid over-speeding. This practice also gives drivers enough time to think of a way out, in case of a potential crash.
Closing of windows when driving above 50km per hr
Drivers are expected to only wind down when they are below 50km per hour, because there is little or no air resistance, and also, to let in air ventilation. But, whenever a vehicle speeds more than 50km per hour and windows are down, air resistance comes into play and more energy is being used. This is because the more you accelerate, the more your car resists air which leads to more energy/fuel consumption.
Removal of load hangers on vehicles
To reduce air resistance, you are advised to remove any form of carrier or hanger fitted to your car.
Avoid idling of vehicle
If your vehicle will not be in motion for more than 60 seconds, or you happen to find yourself by a traffic light that will last more than 60 seconds, you are advised to switch off your car in order to avoid idling, which causes unnecessary consumption of fuel. And please note, if you drive a car that has ignition problem, please don’t practice this.
The lesser the loads a vehicle carries, the easier for its acceleration and this automatically leads to less fuel consumption and emission of harmful gases.
Remain in gear and don’t depress your accelerator when driving downhill
I know this may be hard to adopt, because drivers tend to enjoy the speed that comes with acceleration when driving downhill. It is good you know that, an engine on neutral still needs some fuel to keep moving, but when an engine is on and in gear, it is safe to say the position/momentum of the vehicle drives the engine.
Use air conditioner sparingly
This is self explanatory. When the weather is not too hot outside, turn off the air conditioning.
Regular maintenance of vehicle
This involves general and regular servicing of your car; change oil, brake pad and other parts of your vehicle when due.
Pump tyres regularly and properly
Check for the correct psi of your tyres by the car’s driver’s side and pump correctly and regularly. As riding a bicycle with low pressured tyres takes more energy to pedal, the same is applicable to driving a car with bad tyres.
In conclusion, eco driving is basically about driving to making all roads and environment safe for all citizens. It encourages defensive driving, anticipation and readiness in case of a crash. As responsible citizens who make use of the road daily, let us contribute our own little quota of reducing crashes and global warming to the barest minimum.
Photo Credit: © Rosshelen | Dreamstime