How obeying the highway code can help the environment

Car keys with key ring hanging on key hook, electric car

The environmental impact of driving has been a longstanding topic of conversation among motorists and experts. Recent years have seen a push to improve emissions and carbon standards in the UK.

Now, Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) have been introduced in London and Clean Air Zones (CAZs) are appearing across the country.

Looking at how environmentally friendly we can be while driving could be one way to help push towards a future that is more net-zero.

Beyond joining the more than 660,000 electric cars that are on the road in the UK, could driving within the regulations of the Highway Code help the environment?

This is the question we’ll look to answer in this piece, as Jardine Motors investigate the ways that obeying the Highway Code helps the environment.

Not moving? Turn the engine off

One rule mentioned in the Highway Code is in Section 123, which states that you must not leave the engine on in your car if you’ve parked it and then exit the vehicle.

You might only pop out of the car for a second, the carbon emissions created by a running engine can still be impactful.

An example of where vehicle idling has been noted to have an effect is outside of school zones during pickup hours.

Not only are you helping the environment by switching your engine off, but you’re also avoiding getting a fine for breaking the law.

Keeping an eye on your gears and speed

The Highway Code emphasises being aware of speed limits for all kinds of roads in towns and cities. It’s one of the first and most important lessons that we’re taught as motorists before we ever sit behind the wheel.

As the conversation moves from safety to being eco-friendly, keeping an eye on our speed and acceleration becomes an important topic.

Fast accelerating, abrupt braking, and late gear changes waste energy created when you start driving. This means you’ll spend even more energy adjusting as you keep driving. As such, there has been a push to encourage smooth driving among motorists.

Keeping yourself within the speed limits of the road you’re driving on but moving up through the gears can help prevent wasting that energy you’ve built up.

Try shifting before your car prompts you to and you will feel the jolt, which means you’ve done it smoothly and efficiently.

Check your tyres

Your car tyres may go unnoticed and unappreciated as you drive, but that’s the sign of a good tyre.

One thing you should always be doing is making sure they have the correct pressure, which is stated in the Highway Code under Annex 6.

Not only does the incorrect tyre pressure have an adverse effect on your control of the vehicle, but it can also impact your fuel consumption. Your tyre pressure should not fall below 50kPA lower than the recommended air pressure. If it falls below that average, then you could see fuel efficiency decrease by 4 to 6% if you’re in a city centre or a motorway respectively.

You can check your tyre pressure yourself using a reader, but the weather can affect readings. Having a professional look at your car and all of its features; for example, if you have an Audi service plan, they’ll be able to get an accurate reading and adjust the pressure accordingly.

These may appear to be minimal changes to your everyday driving, but they can make the world of difference. If all motorists adopted these small adjustments, we may see a world of change occur in terms of emissions from vehicles.

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