Our first car gives you more freedom, but also more responsibility once you’re behind the wheel. A simple distraction such a smartphone, car stereo, or passengers can get you in trouble with the law or cause a serious accident. Before they get their permit, drivers should study for the written test so they understand the responsibility they are taking on — and so they pass it the first time. Of course, to do so they must learn the rules of the road. For new drivers, there are many eco-friendly ways to cut down on emissions and save money. Stay safe and keep earth clean with these tips.
1. Distracted Drivers
Distractions come in many shapes and sizes. Smartphones, passengers, and even roadside views can cause crashes. In March 2015, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released research conducted on teen crash videos. This research concluded that distraction crashes are a much larger problem than originally thought. In fact, six out of 10 moderate to severe crashes that involved teens were due to distractions. Safe drivers not only save money by the avoidance of traffic tickets, but they also cut down on emissions. You can get a ticket for reckless driving if you accelerate and brake too quickly. If you drive moderately, stay off your phone while behind the wheel, and obey the laws, you’ll save money and the planet at the same time.
2. Which Car?
The car you choose is a large part of the carbon footprint you leave behind each time you start the engine.
- Large trucks, jeeps, and vans will, of course, get worse fuel efficiency than a smaller sedan or two-door hatchback.
- Electric cars have also become more viable an option. The BMW i3, the Volkswagen e-Golf, and the Nissan Leaf all have battery charges of about 85 miles. While this might seem low, studies have shown that electric cars could be used for up to 95 percent of all trips made in a car. If you’re in the market for a new car, consider an electric one, as their range is better now than ever and the infrastructure to support them is more common.
- If you absolutely need a car that has a larger range than 85 miles per charge, Tesla Motors has the premier option. The Tesla Model S has an official range established by the Environmental Protective Agency of 265 miles. While Tesla cars are still new they come with a high price point. However, in the coming years, Tesla will release the Model 3, which is half the price of current models.
3. Traditional Cars
Electric cars are expensive up front, and sometimes simply aren’t the best car for you.
- Hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius, can get 50 mpg. However, traditional cars are still the norm and affordable for new drivers.
- Get the most out of your vehicle no matter what car you choose with good maintenance habits. Get regular oil changes and keep your car topped up. This can keep the internal components lubricated and smooth. Rotated and properly inflated tires can also keep your car at maximum efficiency.
- Eco-driving has entered popular culture in the last few years and Susan Shaheen, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, thinks she knows why. “Rising fuel prices, climate change … and the fact that the technology is improving all make this a good time to pursue eco-driving and its possibilities,” she said.