To Fuel or not to Fuel that is the Question?

Been shopping lately for a car?

….ever hear the one about the “air-con” or “driving with the Sun-roof open” uses more fuel….dodgy sales person I hear you say!

Well that’s not entirely true…about the fuel that is! ….there is some truth behind the statement !

Did you know that we are paying on average? 1000 more, per year on petrol, compared to two years ago….and that ? 85 is now the cost of an average fill!

The AA says that the price of petrol and diesel rose sharply again last month and hit new record highs. A litre of petrol now costs an average of 161.1 cent, up over 5 cent on February, while the cost of a litre of diesel is now 157.7, up 3.3 cent compared with last month.

So what can we do….I hear you Cry ?!

Well my advice to you is that while fuel prices rise, rid yourself of bad habits and employ some new clever driving tactics.

Not only will they help negate extra cost but serious savings can be had for the worst offenders !!

No offence intended, but some of these might seem basic:

    • Empty your boot of excess weight. – Golf Clubs, buggies, Aunt Mary’s Lawn Mower, anything that weighs down the car is making the car burn more fuel than it needs. The fact is that the heavier the mass the more energy is required to move it.
    • Take off the Bike or Roof Rack that’s only used once a year. These cause a “drag affect” and eat fuel!
    • Correct Tyre Pressures are important.

Check your car manual for both front and back Tyre Pressure amounts.

    • Watch your Right Foot! Stop the Bad driving Habits, like over revving the engine while starting up first thing in the morning.

All Petrol cars have automatic chokes now.

While driving try and change gears at lower Revs. Listen to the engine and avoid revving over 4000rpm.

Remember the louder the engine sounds the more Petrol it’s drinking !

  • Try and adopt a cruising mentality.

Anticipate braking or stopping- Red lights, traffic congestions road works whatever, all should be approached in a cruising manner, either by putting your foot firmly down on the clutch or in some circumstances choosing neutral. This can vastly improve fuel consumption and results in less brake wear and smoother driving.

Of course the old chestnut is that even though Diesel is now costing the same at the pumps, it will in fact get you further down the road. However you do end up paying a premium on the Forecourt when purchasing one. Ask your self – am I doing enough mileage to justify the extra cost…?

As always drive safe, drive smart and…Arrive Alive!

Windy Times!

…So you think we are getting off lightly this winter compared to last…well we are.

This time last year it was 20* cooler and we were all clambering around looking for snow tyres and the like!!

Well this year so far we’ve had a few bad storms with devastating floods and wind damage to contend with. So how do you rate your driving behind the wheel?

Crosswinds cross your direction of travel from either side. Most of us tend to tense up and squeeze the living day lights out of the steering wheel.

Many things can change the way the wind crosses your path. Trees, small hills, buildings and other vehicles on the road can make a strong crosswind act differently on your vehicle.

Simply try to relax your grip and adjust the steering slightly into the direction of the wind. Here, though, is where you need to be on the lookout for objects that will block or redirect the crosswind. Without warning a crosswind can completely disappear. If you are not prepared you could steer yourself off the road or, worse, into an oncoming lane.

Anticipation is key. Try and use your peripheral vision. Make a note of the objects beside the road that could block or redirect the crosswind. Consider the vehicles on the road in the same manner. An approaching truck will temporarily block any crosswind coming from the right as it passes you !

Prepare by beginning to relax the tension you have on the wheel as the vehicle begins to pass you. That way you will not be drawn toward that lane by the apparent vacuum the vehicle creates. You will also be better prepared for the crosswind as the vehicle completes its pass.

Above all slow down. Avoid overtaking manoeuvres on open stretches of roadways.

Remember high winds will affect different types of vehicles in different ways, from high sided commercial vehicles to small light road cars. Also when passing motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians be prepared in case the wind blows them into your path.

Windy weather is unpredictable. You can increase your chances for safety by paying close attention to your environment.

As always drive safe, drive smart and…Arrive Alive!

Watch out…they’re behind you!

….I know I know Panto Season is over…thank goodness!! and so is Christmas, come to think of it ….

Hands up who encountered one of the annual ‘Christmas Check Points’…no me neither, sure I never got out …Unless of-course you manned your own Check Point in your own hall…sure weren’t we all partying at home anyway !!

Well ‘Operation Focus’ has come to town so you better watch out. The operation kicked off last week in Dublin, and will extend through all other regions throughout 2012. in a bid to focus road users’ attention on ongoing garda enforcement of speeding, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, dangerous driving behaviour, the non-use of seatbelts, and the illegal use of mobile phones while driving.

During the Dublin operation, mandatory alcohol test checkpoints will be held at the designated locations from 4.30am to 5.30am, 6.15am to 7am, 7pm to 8pm and 11pm to midnight.

The M50, M1 and M11 will be patrolled on a continuous basis by six Garda vehicles equipped with automated number plate recognition technology and 57 high visibility checkpoints with 19 patrol cars.

Did you know that if a vehicle is found by the Gardai not to have a current motor insurance policy they have the power to impound the vehicle until such time as an insurance certificate is produced. The owner of the vehicle will also be liable to all charges or costs incurred by the Gardai in the removal and storage of the vehicle.

So says ‘The Road Traffic Act 2006’ and by the way, these powers now extend to vehicles registered outside of Ireland Similarly, the Gardai are empowered to impound any vehicle which has not been taxed for a period of two months or more. In reality this means that if you are stopped by the Gardai while driving the your car and your Tax is out they can seize and impound it straight away. You must then show proof that the motor tax has been paid for that vehicle to include the date on which it was impounded (i.e. paying the arrears due on the vehicle). Again, the owner of the vehicle will be liable for all charges and costs incurred by the Gardai in the removal and storage of the vehicle….getting worried yet ?

It might be worthwhile considering more closely the entire condition of your vehicle, now that the chances of coming across a check point have increased during this period. Defective tyres, broken wing mirrors, missing bulbs front and back all give the Gardai more reason to stop and fulfil their duties!

In light of this wouldn’t preparation be wise?

Might save your blushes at that random check point ? Spend a little time to check over your car, replace those ever blowing bulbs, infact replace any black looking ones too, even if they are still working they’re on the last legs. Dig out that hidden CT disc thats been living in the Glove Box ! and make sure your Window Stickers are up to date. Why not drop into your local garage and ask for some help. I’ve got plenty of those Disc Holders and we would gladly give your car the one over too !

I’m all for the Spirit of this iniative as long as sense prevails…mind you, I found it quite curious to see a Van stopped on the M50 by a Garda on a ‘push-bike’ !…answers on a post card please – don’t phone I might be driving!

As always drive safe, drive smart and…Arrive Alive!