In a country where 46% of workplace deaths and serious injuries are motor-vehicle related, adopting good habits that can reduce crash risk makes great sense. A habit that can achieve this is called eco-driving. This article explores what it is and how it benefits your safety and hip-pocket. These benefits apply both inside and outside of your workplace.
Good eco-driving practices can be broken down into two components:
1/ Proper vehicle set-up and maintenance. It’s straight forward, easy to implement and all part of good compliance. Simple things like:
- Keeping your vehicle regularly serviced, it helps keep your vehicle at peak efficiency.
- Keeping tyre pressures at the recommended level, properly inflated tyres can increase fuel efficiency by 3.3%.
- Removing unnecessary weight, and that includes roof racks (unless they’re an everyday necessity), the drag generated can cost as much as 25% extra in fuel usage.
- Limiting the use of air conditioning; we’re not suggesting you turn it off completely and fry yourself, but don’t crank it up too far. At external temperatures of 35°C, air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by 38%.
2/ Your personal behaviour behind the wheel. It’s THE major contributor to fuel usage. Eco-driving can reduce fuel usage by 20%. More importantly, it contributes to your personal wellbeing; studies undertaken by a major international car manufacturer found that eco-driving reduced the crash rate by 25%.
So, what is eco-driving and how do you put it into practice? Eco-driving is a style that includes maintaining a steady speed, less speeding, less overtaking and less stress/ aggressiveness. Its essence can be condensed into one word; smooth. The mind-set to achieve it being ‘flow’. Easier said than done. It takes conscious, consistent, care and attention. Habits that will help you to flow with traffic are:
- Accelerate smoothly, use momentum efficiently, and brake early; In built-up areas, nearly 40% of fuel consumption can be attributed to acceleration. Once up to speed, cruise there whenever possible – it’s very efficient. Did you know that when driving at a constant speed of 50km/h, a typical car only needs 5% of its engine’s power to maintain momentum?
- Avoid tailgating, it makes it harder to see what’s ahead and therefore harder anticipate what’s about to happen. This can lead to harsh braking events that rob you of momentum. As a guideline to help you avoid tailgating, try to leave a 3-second gap between yourself and the car in front of you. Add a further second or two if road conditions are slippery.
Becoming an eco-driver can help you save money and prevent serious harm from coming your way. There’s more to it than can be explained within the confines of this brief article. So, for more in-depth information we suggest you visit the NRSPP.org.au website and download the thought leadership paper ‘The Interface Between Eco-Driving and Safe-Driving’. It’s freely available so why not do it now?
This article was written by Duncan Ferguson CEO, FleetRisk in this month’s issue of IPWEA’s Inspire Magazine and has been republished with permission