In today’s world of austerity, ‘green’ issues seem to have taken a back seat lately. However, when it comes to driving at least, ‘better for the environment’ can also mean ‘better economically’.
The specialist food services support business, Scobie McIntosh, realised this when it implemented our Driver Behaviour module alongside our vehicle tracking solution FleetTracker.
As Dave Perry, General Manager at Scobie McIntosh, explains:
“Whilst the Driver Behaviour bolt-on has helped us to minimalise dangerous driving instances. The system has also highlighted issues with engineers speeding on regular occasions, which may not have been noticed before the implementation of Crystal Ball. These issues have been subsequently resolved since the solution has been put in place. Also real-time traffic reports have been a huge benefit for us and we are now able to plan our routes better and schedule work more effectively using Crystal Ball's FleetTracker. These factors have increased efficiency, lowered fuel costs, and helped us to identify many cost-cutting opportunities”
So what driver behaviours should you be encouraging? We asked John Garside, Director at Focale Training, the advanced driver training specialists, to share his top tips for a ‘greener’ drive.
#1. Anticipate Traffic Flow
“We know continual breaking and accelerating means heavier fuel use, so try to anticipate the road ahead and drive at sensible speeds, according to the road conditions. Try to avoid harsh breaking and the inevitable burn of fuel to get back up to speed. Accelerating at a steady, reasonable pace will also reduce fuel consumption. It sounds obvious, but it can have a big impact,” says John.
#2. Change to a higher gear as early as possible
The Energy Saving Trust recommends that drivers change up a gear between 2000 and 2500 revolutions per minute (rpm). Driving at lower engine speeds reduces fuel consumption, so it makes sense to change up when you can.
#3. Turn Air Conditioning off when you can.
John Garside at Focale says the effects of air conditioning are often overlooked but air conditioning systems can be heavy consumers of fuel, particularly at lower speeds. However, if you’re on the motorway and the alternative is to open a window then the impact of air conditioning might be less noticeable; the drag from an open window on the motorway can also make for a less environmentally-friendly drive.
#4. Keep your vehicle well-maintained and check tyre pressures regularly
John recommends checking tyre pressures regularly in line with the manufacturer's guidance. “A well-maintained vehicle and tyres will deliver beneficial environmental impacts and financial savings in the long term,” says John, “not only in terms of fuel use; it will also extend the life of your vehicle and your tyres – and improve handling.”
#5. Try to avoid unnecessary time idling
Most modern vehicles have stop start technology which helps to reduce the amount of idling your fleet does, however most have manual override switches. Make sure that if you have stop start technology you have it switched on. For those vehicles that don't have Start/Stop technology, planning your journey is a big part of this; Crystal Ball’s traffic reporting tool that displays real time traffic flows over our mapping interface can help managers relay traffic problems ahead of time and reduce unnecessary idling.
As Scobie McIntosh has seen, following these simple tips can have a positive impact on business profitability as well as the environment. However, John Garside does offer one word of caution: “Many drivers can benefit from reduced fuel costs by driving economically. When driving, though, safety must always be the first priority. Safe driving practice must always be observed when trying to drive fuel efficiently.”
For more information about Crystal Ball’s Driver Behaviour bolt-on.
To read more about how Scobie McIntosh use FleetTracker and Driver Behaviour.
With special thanks to John Garside from Focale Training for his contribution.
For more information on business driver training for cars, vans and lorries contact Focale at http://www.focaletraining.co.uk/