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, 2016 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 we listed in our 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 Chicago drivers for combating high gas prices:
- 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. Those rapid changes cause your mileage to drop by up to 37 percent!
- Keep it slow(ish). Just know that when your car goes over 60 mph, mileage per gallon reduces significantly. If you drive an SUV, driving at 75 mph versus 55 mph reduces your mileage by 33 percent.
- 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 up to 19 percent of your 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 14 percent more in gas.
Be on top of car maintenance:
Going beyond an oil change every five thousand miles, 2017 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 marking 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 2017 the year of DDs and budgets 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, you are four times more likely to risk a crash when you use a cellphone while driving. Imagine how much safer the road could 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 someone else 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 for those in the front, seatbelts reduce the risk of death by 45 percent and serious injury by 50 percent. For those not wearing seatbelts, they are 30 times more likely to be ejected! 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 by the way. 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 theirs.
Have other ideas for driving resolutions? Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!
Posted December 29, 2016 in what's trending.