Everyone always wants to save some money and find a deal. They spend their days trawling through advertising to find something they want at a bargain price. But day after day they waste money in the way they drive.
In this blog I’m going to show you three ways to save money every time you drive. There are a heap of things you can do when you are driving, and even before you drive, that can help get your fuel bill down; you can maintain your car regularly, check your tire pressure, plan your route and the time of day you travel to avoid stop/go traffic. But, if you do these three things, you will guarantee to save fuel every time you drive and be a safer driver.
One: Eyes on High Beam
This sounds strange but bare with me for a moment! Imagine you’re on a quiet country road at night. What can you see ahead of you with only your dipped headlights on? Now imagine how much more you can see when you flick on your high beams. It’s so much further, you see so much more!
Putting your “eyes on high beam” simply means lifting your eyes to see further up the road – just like what happens when you put your high beam headlights on.
Most drivers are reactive not proactive. They scan ahead maybe 2 or 3 cars and when the brake light goes on they react and brake, often overreacting and slowing down more than required. Then when the brake light goes off, they pummel the gas pedal to the floor to get back up to speed as fast as they can and stop a gap opening up between them and the car in front, just incase someone swaps lanes and gets ahead of them.
This type of driving is short sighted – literally and physically – and it is costly on gas! Every time I jab on the brakes, especially if it’s late and hard, I waste the fuel I just used to get my car moving. If I over brake and maybe even stop, I now need to waste more fuel to get back up to speed.
By lifting my eyes further ahead and scanning as far as I can see (in New Zealand’s road code, this called 12 second scanning), I have the opportunity to watch the flow of traffic ahead to anticipate brake lights and traffic lights. This way I can lift my foot off the gas pedal early, immediately saving fuel. If I do this anticipation well enough and manage to keep moving, even just very slowly, I don’t need as much fuel to get back up to speed either.
Yeah! I just saved fuel and kept my money in my pocket, instead of throwing it at the petrol station.
Two: Be Situationally Aware
Be aware of where you are and what is around you – buildings, people, traffic and even what time of day it is.
Let me give you an example: I’m driving down a straight road, it’s 10.15am and there is a dairy about 200m ahead. There are several utes and vans parked nearby.
“So what?” I hear some of you saying. Others of you have realised it’s morning tea break – the vans and utes possibly belong to trade workers who are loading up with snacks. When they return to their vehicles, there’s a high chance they’ll pull a u-turn and head back to work with distracted drivers and passengers. They may even pull out in front of me!
But because I’m situationally aware I ease back off the gas and cover my brake pedal just in case. Now, if someone does pull out, I’m ready and I’m less likely to crash.
How does that save me money? Well there is usually some cost to a crash isn’t there?
Beyond that though, if I’m situationally aware of my environment, I can drive about avoiding schools in the mornings and afternoons. Or take quieter roads that may be a little further but have better, smooth, quieter traffic flow during rush hour. That way I’m not wasting fuel on stop/go traffic again.
Three: Take your time
If you’re running late, stop and send a text or call whoever is waiting for you and let them know you are going to be late. Watch out for an upcoming blog on the “Scotty Principle” soon that explains this more.
But if people know you are going to be late the pressure to rush, speed, brake late and accelerate hard is gone. When you are late and there is some fear involved (like the boss or parents will tell me off), your body releases adrenaline which narrows your eyes and lowers your line of sight. You stop scanning 12 seconds ahead and become reactive. You don’t look properly at intersections and risk a bad call when it comes to gap selection. All these things waste fuel.
If you just relax, take your time and focus on your driving you will probably find better gap choices, take a smoother route, stay alive and of course save fuel along the way!