By Madeline Klein on December 18, 2019.
It's January! A fresh start to the calendar and everyone is thinking up ways to make this year better than the last. In terms of improvements, 2019 gave us a lot to work with, but in case you're still figuring out your resolution(s), we'd like to offer up a few driving suggestions. Here we go!
For your vehicle:
Be more fuel-efficient:
You save money and help the environment, which is a double win in terms of resolutions! If you're driving one of the cars listed in Consumer Reports’ most fuel-efficient cars post, you're already ahead of the game. But there are still ways to improve your fuel efficiency. Here's a reminder of some tips we gave to our drivers for battling their long commutes:
- Look ahead. When you can better anticipate what's to come on the road, you reduce the amount of times you have to slam on the brakes or gas pedal. Decreasing those rapid changes cause your mileage to increase significantly!
- Keep it slow and steady. Sticking to the speed limit increases fuel efficiency quite a bit. The ideal speed for the best gas mileage is 45 mph.
- Know when, and when not to idle. If you're going to stop your car for longer than 30 seconds, it's best to just turn off your car and save on gas.
- Be selective with cruise control. When the roads are flat, cruise control can be your best friend. However, if you're driving on a lot of hills, it's harder for your cruise control to maintain a constant speed and will cost you more in gas.
- Keep your cool. It’s proven that angry or stressed drivers waste more fuel. If you’re feeling tense behind the wheel, remember those yoga breathing exercises and focus on what you will do with all the money you are saving!
Be on top of car maintenance:
Going beyond an oil change every five thousand miles, 2020 can be the year you master car maintenance. RealSimple made a great cheat sheet for common car part replacements like batteries, wipers, tires and air filters. We suggest looking at your vehicle's mileage to see if you'll need to replace anything in the next year and mark your calendar with reminders around the time you think you'll hit any mileage markers.
For your safety:
Vow to not drink and drive:
By now, we all know the risks associated with drinking and driving, even without looking up the staggering and tragic statistics. Let's acknowledge we're not above the influence of alcohol and make 2020 the year of DDs and budget for Uber, Lyft or cab rides.
No texting and driving:
Here's another driving risk we hear about all of the time, but don't always believe. According to these statistics, sending or reading a text at 55 mph takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. During that time, you have driven the length of a football field without looking. Imagine how much safer the road would be if we vowed to never text while driving again!
Always wear your seatbelt:
It's easy to forget wearing a seatbelt is one of the simplest things we can do to be safer drivers. Sure, we all know someone who knows someone with a miraculous story of surviving a crash because they weren’t wearing their seatbelt. But for every rare story of survival, there are way too many "if only" stories to the contrary. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention says seatbelts reduce serious injuries and deaths by about 50 percent. Make it a habit to ALWAYS wear your seatbelt, even if the trip is short.
Signal, signal, signal:
Use your turn signals and reduce surprises. Last-second signaling as you're turning doesn't count, BTW. Way too many people start to slow down for a turn without warning and turn on the signal as an afterthought. The car behind you needs to know why you're slowing down. That way, they can see how far ahead your turn is and anticipate how much they need to slow down. If it's a lane change, they'll need to know where you're heading and how much room to give you.
Leave some space:
Even if you're using your signals properly, you can't always trust that the car in front of you will. Whether they're driving way too slow or just cut you off, vow to leave at least 4 seconds worth of space between your car and others.