Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Paradigm shift while driving...

While the preference for most while going for a car is towards performance and economy, most stop after their purchase and do not follow up in honing their skills to practice safe and economical driving...

Most reviews of automobiles state the raw power and how fast the vehicle can go. Granted, a speed of 175+kmph is high for Indian roads, I do not see anyone doing this during their normal day-to-day ride which would represent more than 98% of us, commuters.

The recent Ford Fiesta Max Marathon drive had helped in changing the way people drive their cars. This is a different race, not focused on speed and time, but on economy and mileage.

A few do's and dont's that worked out for me:

  • Plan to use the brakes less. Fuel is spent in keeping the vehicle running. Brakes reduces the efficiency by introducing friction and thus limiting the speed.

    Which means that you start planning ahead to avoid the brake.

    You then tend to leave ample space between your and the vehicle in front.

    You also start driving slower so that in case the vehicle in front slows down, you will be able to slowdown gradually. Hopefully, if the vehicle picks up by the time you reach it, you save the fuel consumed by braking.

    You would also tend to maintain the speed constant

    Keep a brake-avoidance count and try to break your high score.

    Note: Not using the brake does not literally mean you should not use it at all. Remember, safety comes first before economy.

  • Do not press the clutch while driving - The clutch disengages the engine from the wheel. So, if you press the clutch fully or partially, the power generated from the engine is not fully utilized by the wheels and is wasted.

  • Do not accelerate while changing gears - As stated above, the clutch will disengage the engine during the gear change. Pressing the accelerator makes the engine go faster, but the power that is generated is not utilized.

  • Maintain correct tire pressure - Ensure that your tires have adequate pressure. Fill in during the mornings and evenings. Afternoons tend to show higher readings.
It is irrelevant how fast you can go. If makes more sense to see how long you have gone and contributed to a more environmentally friendlier place to live.

Go the distance!

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