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Drive smarter, not faster

Drive smarter, not faster

The festive season means grilled prawns on the barbie, hours of fun in the sun, and sometimes even hours on the road. But if the thought of bumper to bumper traffic tempts you to go full force on the accelerator you may want to think twice.

Even though it could be enticing to put pedal to the metal, speeding doesn’t actually get you to your destination any faster – not to mention it’s illegal and fines during this time of year could cost you big bucks and double demerits.

Speeding is the leading behavioural factor in deaths and injuries on New South Wales roads, contributing to about 40 per cent of road fatalities. And in Queensland, around half of all serious speeding crasheshappen at less than 10km/h above the speed limit.

It might be obvious but the faster you go, the greater the risk you are of having an accident. So, while driving to the speed limit or slowing down may cost you a few minutes, it may save a life or benefit you in other ways.

Those few minutes you lose when driving slower can be picked up through driving smarter. Here are a few habits to help you get to your destination safely and promptly without being a speed demon.

Plan ahead

Plan your drives around less congested routes or at times with fewer cars on the road. This way you’re not sitting in peak hour traffic or being frustrated by the lack of movement on the road.

Manage speed with apps

Sometimes you might not be familiar with routes and roads or even speed without even realising it, but this is where apps can come in handy. Smartphone apps like Wazecan help you navigate to your destination in real-time, notifying you of speed limits, accidents, congestion, shortcut suggestions and live traffic updates. It is illegal to use your phone while driving so just be sure to set up your app or navigation system prior to hitting the road.

Slow down to save fuel

Speeding doesn’t actually shorten your commute – but it does waste more petrol. According to the Department of the Environment, you use more fuel when you accelerate at higher speeds and it’s especiallysignificant over about 90 km/h. The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) says you can save up to 25 per cent of fuel consumption if you reduce your speed by just 20 km/h on the freeway.To minimise petrol consumption, avoid running your engine while stopping, slow down and don’t speed.If your car is fitted with cruise control, use it when you’re driving highway roads to help maintain a steady speed and save fuel.

Prevent wear and tear

Drive more economically by reducing your speed and sticking to the limit. When you drive at a faster speed it puts a massive strain on the wear and tear of your tyres. This is because the faster you speed, the harder you have to brake, ultimately putting more pressure on your tyre tread. When you reduce your speed, it prolongs the life of your tyres by wearing them out less.

Distribute weight evenly

Make sure you have the correct tyre pressure in your wheels to help distribute the weight of your vehicle evenly across all tyres and their tread patterns. This will help keep your vehicle stable while driving on the road. An under-inflated or over-inflated tyre can lose its stability, negatively affecting the overall handling which causes it to be unsteady to drive when stopping or turning around bends and corners.

Decelerate

Although it can be easy to slip into auto pilot while driving, making a conscience effort to stay alert and keeping an eye out for yellow and red traffic lights is important. Decelerating when approaching traffic lights or intersections reduces the need for braking at higher speeds, meaning your vehicle uses less kinetic energy to slow down. By maintaining a steady speed and easing off the accelerator, you avoid stomping on your brakes and save your engine from using as much fuel.

Travel light

The more you pack into your boot and backseat, the more fuel your vehicle will have to use to function. Steer clear of using your car as a mobile storeroom and leave heavy objects like sports equipment or tools at home when you don’t need to take them on your trip.

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