With the fuel prices soaring to an all-time high, motorists across the UK will try anything to save money. One of the best ways to do that might be by practicing hypermiling. This is when drivers attempt to get the best mileage out of their cars, in turn saving fuel and money.
However, motoring experts have now warned that some of the most common fuel-saving techniques can be dangerous.
Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, told Express.co.uk: “The UK’s roads are still very busy and when you are driving you need to concentrate on your safety and that of others first and foremost.
“Some hypermiling techniques demand high concentration levels which could distract you from safe driving.
“Going far too slowly can also irritate other drivers who don’t know what you are doing and that can lead to road rage.”
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Experts at CarSite also revealed some of the most dangerous hypermiling techniques.
This involves driving close behind another vehicle, usually a van or lorry, essentially using the forward vehicle’s body to shield your own car from wind and so reduce drag. Drafting is dangerous for obvious reasons. Tailgating is illegal (it’s classed as dangerous driving), and by doing this hypermilers are inviting a crash. Reaction times and braking distance are severely reduced at this range, making a collision more likely should the car in front suddenly slow; following too closely is responsible for five percent of traffic collisions, while sudden braking makes up a further five percent of accidents.
Coasting is another potentially dangerous technique. Some hypermilers turn the engine off while in motion, which can cut power to steering and braking assists, and potentially engage the steering lock. More responsible hypermilers instead use coasting when going downhill or approaching junctions, lifting off the throttle early and letting the car carry itself forward. While not illegal, drivers involved in an accident while coasting may be found to be at fault as they were not fully in control of the car. In addition, more and more modern cars have systems that enable safe coasting by automatically cutting off the engine when going downhill, but still allowing full control of steering and braking.
A US hypermiling technique that is starting to see use elsewhere is ridge riding. This involves driving off-centre in a lane to avoid the ‘ridges’ left in the road by other drivers. In the US, with wide, straight roads, this technique may work. However, UK roads tend to be more narrow, and driving off-centre is likely to place the vehicle dangerously close to oncoming traffic.