Eco safe driving for cars, lorries and buses

Be an ‘eco-safe’ driver and contribute to road safety as well as reducing your fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. Making changes to your driving style will also save you money. Anyone sitting a car, bus or lorry driving test will get feedback on their eco-safe driving manner.

Eco-safe driving assessment as part of the practical driving test

You will be assessed on your ability to drive using eco-safe driving techniques during your practical car, bus or lorry test for feedback purposes only, this assessment is not part of the criteria which could support in the failing of the practical test.

The driving examiner will assess your driving style which focuses on your control of the vehicle and your forward planning skills. At the end of the test the examiner will give you feedback, as guidance, on how efficiently you were driving. Always try to use the vehicle controls as smoothly as possible, with particular attention to:

  • starting and moving away
  • accelerating
  • using gears
  • driving at an appropriate speed
  • braking

This reduces wear and tear on your vehicle and will help in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2).  

Planning

Reduce harmful emissions by anticipating road traffic conditions and acting in good time, rather than reacting to them at the last moment, especially:

  • showing hazard awareness and planning skills
  • making use of engine braking when appropriate
  • stopping the engine when appropriate

Become an eco-safe driver and drive more efficiently

Eco-safe driving is a recognised and proven style of driving that contributes to road safety whilst reducing fuel consumption and emissions. One of the main factors in increasing road safety is the emphasis on planning ahead so that you are prepared in advance for potential hazards. By increasing your hazard perception and planning skills you can make maximum use of your vehicle’s momentum, engine braking and engine torque and, by doing this, can reduce fuel consumption and damage to the environment.

Firstly, always consider if you need to use your vehicle for the journey. Ask yourself could you walk, cycle or take public transport instead.

When you do need to use your vehicle, follow these tips as a guide to safe driving for economy:

  • check your tyres regularly and keep at recommended pressure
  • don't carry unnecessary weight
  • remove roof rack or luggage boxes when not needed to reduce air resistance
  • keep a safe distance from the car in front as this will help you to plan your driving
  • don't exceed speed limits
  • accelerate gently
  • brake gently and avoid late braking
  • when conditions allow, use the highest gear possible without making the engine struggle - modern vehicles are designed to deliver power even when engine revs are quite low
  • consider using cruise control where it would be appropriate
  • turn off your engine if you're likely to have a prolonged wait
  • use air conditioning only when you need to
  • plan your route to avoid congestion points
  • try to travel during off-peak times
  • check your fuel consumption regularly to make sure you are getting the most from your vehicle
  • when parking, always try to reverse into a parking space so you can drive out of it as manoeuvring whilst the engine is cold uses a lot of fuel
  • keeping your vehicle well maintained will reduce fuel consumption

Theory tests

The car and motorcycle theory tests contain questions on the above topics, for example; how to maintain and use your vehicle correctly to reduce fuel consumption and emissions and planning your journey.

During the practical tests for cars and motorcycles, the examiner will ask you show me / tell me questions about your vehicle which can include questions about maintaining your vehicle.

The examiner will also observe your driving/riding to assess whether you are planning ahead, using speed legally and correctly, using controls such as the accelerator and brakes correctly and if you are matching the correct gear to the road and traffic conditions.

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