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eco-safe driving
  1. Learner
4th July 2023

What is eco-safe driving?

These are the skills you need to master to become an eco-safe learner driver, from accelerating with care, braking gently and being more considerate to your gearbox.

Car Insurance from just £125 per year

Eco-safe driving is another aspect of your driving test, but what is it and how can you master it? We answer all your questions here.

How to master eco-safe driving as a learner 

Eco-safe driving is a style of driving that helps reduce the impact your vehicle has on the living environment.

Transport, and especially carbon fuelled vehicles, accounts for about a fifth of all air pollution emissions globally so it is crucial that something is done to counter those effects.

How can I drive in an eco-safe manner?

Eco-safe driving is not about driving at lower speeds — although this would help reduce fuel consumption and accidents — it is more about avoiding wastage of fuel through unnecessary acceleration or braking and inefficient use of the gears and speed.

Hazard perception, defensive driving and progressive driving play a big part in eco-safe driving as they help you to avoid inefficient use of the accelerator, brake and gears.

eco-safe driving
Plan your journey so you travel during off-peak times.

Eco-safe driving and your driving test

On your driving test your driving examiner will rate your eco-safe driving, though your performance won’t ultimately influence the decision as to whether you pass or fail your test. The examiner will however provide feedback on how eco-safe your driving was.

The examiner will want learners to display a number of eco-safe driving skills, including the following:

Eco-safe driving: Control

  1. Minimisation of aggressive or rapid acceleration. Instead, when it is safe to do so, a gradual increase in speed is desirable with gentle depression of the accelerator.
  2. Use of higher gears as soon as possible without making the engine labour. Avoid engaging unnecessary intermediate gear changes so that you can more quickly engage higher gears or delay engaging lower gears. 

Eco-safe driving: Planning

  1. Minimisation of harsh braking and not stopping when you don’t need to. Read the road ahead and if you see you will need to slow down, do so gradually using engine braking rather than the brakes. Gradually adjust your speed to time your arrival at junctions and hold-ups. 
  2. Read the road ahead to ensure that any acceleration now will not be wasted because you will be held up just a short distance further along the road. If you are going downhill, ease up on the accelerator but maintain a safe speed.

The do’s and don’ts of eco-safe driving 

The do’s:

  • Do plan your route to avoid congestion
  • Do try to travel at off-peak times
  • Do consider using cruise control where appropriate
  • Do check your fuel economy regularly
  • Do try to reverse into parking spaces so you can drive out of it as manoeuvring while the engine is cold uses more fuel
  • when conditions allow, use the highest gear possible 

The don’ts:

  • Don’t over rev the engine while waiting to move off
  • Don’t use excessive acceleration to pull away
  • Don’t remain in a low gear, or change into a lower gear, unnecessarily
  • Don’t exceed speed limits
  • Don’t tailgate as it will result in continual harsh braking
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to brake
  • Don’t overtake at every opportunity, especially on congested roads where there will be little benefit
eco-safe driving
Reduce petrol consumption by reversing into car parking spaces so there is less stress on a cold engine manoeuvring to get out of a spot.

Eco-safe driving: before you set out

There are also a number of maintenance steps you can take to help you become a good eco-safe driver before you set off on your journey. This includes:

  • Regularly checking your tyres are correctly inflated (including the spare)
  • Removing the roof rack or luggage box and bicycle rack when not needed
  • Keeping your car well maintained to optimise fuel consumption

Eco-safe driving habits you can adopt

Buy a greener car if you can

Thankfully there are a variety of eco-friendly vehicles currently on the market, from hybrid models to electric to biodiesel. Whilst the prices of these vehicles are high, there are a number of cheaper affordable cars such as the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe.

Reduce the weight of your vehicle 

Reducing the amount of weight you’re carrying in your vehicle can have a big effect on the amount of fuel you are using. Making sure you’re not carrying around anything unnecessarily not only reduces your carbon footprint, but will also save you money in the long run, after all fuel prices have rocketed in recent months.   

Don’t overuse the accelerator 

As mentioned before, there is no need to overuse your accelerator. In fact in certain instances such as driving downhill, there is often no need to use the pedal at all. Using the accelerator and brake pedals in a controlled and calm manner to reduce the amount of emissions you are pumping into the ozone layer.   

Be smart by eco-smart driving, be sensible by trying Sterling

Wherever you are on the long journey of learning to drive and car ownership, Sterling will have the perfect insurance to meet your needs.

Prices for learner driver car insurance start from just 77p a day while full insurance for qualified drivers begin at £125 a year. Our best deals are only available over the phone. 

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