Back in August I was contacted by the Energy Saving Trust asking whether I would be interested in attending a meeting about Smarter Driving. At that time I had never even heard of Smarter Driving and so I thought I ought to find out more. A number of meetings followed and then in October I attended a training session to become a Smarter Driving trainer, endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust.
The purpose of Smarter Driving is to try to encourage as many drivers as possible to drive more economically, saving fuel and reducing pollution. As a technique it has been successful across the world and has already been passed on to more than twenty thousand fleet drivers in the UK. The statistics show that the savings can be quite significant, usually reducing fuel consumption by somewhere between 15% and 40% and there is also a corresponding drop in accidents.
Having listened to all the statistics and then been trained myself (showing a potential 15% saving on fuel), I must admit I still didn't believe in the principles being taught. So I tried it out on a couple of volunteers. I was amazed at the savings that both of them showed. One showed potential savings of 27%, and the other 15%. The former reckoned that was worth a holiday to her over the course of a year. So I signed up to the Smarter Driving programme.
The principles are simple, within the abilties of all drivers, and take very little time to learn, usually within a single hour. The cost is relatively low, £25 and, in my opinion supported by the staistics above, is definitely worth the money.
So what is involved? Well, you drive my car in your normal driving style over a pre-determined route and we measure the fuel consumption and the average speed. We then discuss a number of different techniques which may reduce fuel consumption and drive the route again, applying some of the techniques as we go. At the end of the route we see what difference it has made to the fuel consumption and average speed. Then, time permitting we drive it a third time, this time with you just applying the techniques on your own. At the end, we compare the fuel consumption figures from the various runs and see how much you could save if the same techniques were applied to your driving.
No-one likes the idea of someone sitting next to them watching them drive (including me!), but I'm really not interested in any little bad habits you may have picked up - that's not the purpose of the Smarter Driving training. I promise I won't criticise you or think badly of you when it's all over. I'm just interested in trying to promote a more economic and safer way of driving and turning out as many Smarter Drivers as I can.
If the potential savings are not enough of an incentive, on completion of the Smarter Driving training you receive a certificate from the Energy Saving Trust detailing how much you may be able to save, and a Smarter Driver sticker for your car.
So, if you are interested in Smarter Driving for you or someone close to you, you can get more information here or drop me a line. It really is worth it!