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How to save when driving: drive efficiently

Why do we have to improve the efficiency of our driving ? Most people want to save on fuel, but they have acquired habits that make doing so difficult. Changing the way you drive will not only save you money, but will also contribute to protecting the environment.

Discovering that small changes in how you drive will allow you to save a considerable amount of fuel and that you can positively affect the sustainability of the environment are more than enough reasons to rethink how you do things. You have to truly understand what efficient driving consists of, and today we are going to give you the keys to do so.


What is efficient driving?

According to the Spanish Department of Motor Vehicles, efficient driving is a style of vehicle handling that aims to reduce fuel consumption and, therefore, favour a decrease in pollution.

Efficiency also means that the driver is comfortable behind the wheel and that potential risks on the road are reduced.

To achieve these objectives a series of techniques must be applied. These are actually very simple and are based on taking advantage of the opportunities offered by today's car engines.


Advantages of efficient driving

The list of advantages of opting for this type of driving includes benefits for quality of life in our cities as well as for ourselves as drivers.

1. Stress-free driving

The principles of driving efficiency include not making sudden movements such as braking, speeding up or unnecessary passing. Being relaxed when you're driving will help. Attitude has a direct influence on lowering the chances of a serious accident.


2. Saving money

Avoiding braking and other sudden movements helps you to maintain a constant speed. With constant speed, you have constant fuel consumption. What consequences does that have? Saving on fuel and maintenance: if you don't go too hard on the vehicle, there is less of a chance of breaking down and less wear and tear on parts such as brakes or tyres.

"Keeping your speed constant means savings on maintenance: if you treat your vehicle right, you have less chance of breakdowns and less wear and tear."

3. Increased safety on the road

From the previous points, it is clear that improving efficiency when driving allows you to improve the overall safety of all drivers on the road. Driving without stress is essential so that you can drive anticipating and preventing what might happen around you. That means you will be able to react better to any issue that may arise.


4. Improving health

If you drive following efficiency guidelines, you help reduce pollution in the environment. That improves everyone's quality of life. Don't forget that the emission of polluting gases can cause respiratory disorders, eye problems and even cardiovascular diseases.

"If you drive following efficiency guidelines, you help reduce pollution in the environment."

Tips to improve efficiency and sustainability

The list of strategies that you can use when driving with greater efficiency and sustainability includes:

  • Use first gear to start the car, but shift to second as soon as possible.
  • Drive with higher gears most of the way to reduce engine revolutions and optimise fuel consumption.
  • Brake by taking your foot off the accelerator, without using the brake pedal. This takes advantage of inertia and avoids sudden braking.
  • If you're driving on a hill, you can use a similar strategy. If you take our foot off the accelerator and do not change gear, you will be able to take advantage of this same inertia that allows you to drive without consuming.
  • If in a traffic jam, you should keep using higher gears, always taking care to maintain a safe distance between vehicles. Falling into the temptation to jump forward fast at the slightest opportunity will only mean you have to brake more often. This will result in consuming more fuel and generating more pollution.
  • Passing or overtaking is another basic element in efficient driving. Only do so when necessary, and when it means making yourself safer on the road. Those that mean you have to cross into the opposite lane are dangerous and as such should be avoided. Only when you have enough space to do it using a gear similar to the one you were in and at a speed high enough not to have to brake fall into the category of efficient driving.
  • In stops that last longer than a minute, turn off the engine to avoid the minimum consumption when the engine is idling.

Another of our recommendations has to do with keeping your vehicle cool. Don't put down the windows when driving: you will reduce your car's aerodynamics and consume more fuel. This is worthwhile only if you're driving slowly. Also, keep your car at a pleasant temperature (between 22 and 24º C), since excessive heat distracts drivers.

Remember that maintaining your car is key to being able to put into practice all these tips, from the wheels to the windshield. If it is time to change your vehicle, consider models that consume and pollute less.

Here, the electric car option has its own specific driving efficiency tips. For example, it accelerates much faster than a fuel combustion car, so you have to moderate your acceleration. The management of the braking system also influences electric vehicles' driving efficiency, since the system has an energy recovery procedure. Braking charges the battery, so the engine acts as a generator when you slow down. Brake smoothly and over a longer period of time.

The location of the batteries in these cars also means they have a lower centre of gravity, which gives them stability on driving. This should be kept in mind when going around bends, for example.

Another point to take into account is planning your route, since these vehicles have a range of around 200 kilometres. You'll have to plan stops calculating distances and taking into account recharging points. And don't forget charging times, which vary if you charge at a public charging point or if you charge it at home. Remember that air conditioning consumes a lot of energy in electric cars, so if you are going to use it on your trip, keep this in mind when scheduling your charges.

Finally, there is the health of the driver themselves: make sure that you are in good health, well rested, that you have your eyes and hearing checked regularly, and keep your glasses or contact lenses, if you wear them, in good condition. Although you have to stop and rest every two hours or before that if you need to, don't forget that you have to be in a good state of mind on the road, because nerves, haste, and stress are never good co-pilots on a trip.

Our last but not least important tip is to make sure that your driving has your full attention and you are constantly alert, forgetting about any distractions such as mobile phones. Leave it somewhere where it will not distract you and if your vehicle has a hands free option, always use it. If you have to use a GPS, configure it before leaving or at a service station if you have to change anything in your route.

Never take your eyes off the road and remember that your safety and that of your companions always comes first.

Following these basic tips while driving will help you improve your efficiency and safety behind the wheel and at the same time help protect the environment.

Only when you are 100% committed can you be the most efficient driver you can be.

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