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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Driving down the cost of motoring
Are you a pussy cat when you get behind the wheel of a car, or do you turn into a hissing spitting tiger, lashing out verbally at anyone who might get your back up? Did you know that your driving technique will determine how much you are paying for your fuel. We all know that the pump price keeps on going up and up, but how can you get the most miles for your money? The answer is simple, by driving like a pussy cat, planning your journey, and concentrating 100% on what you are doing. By reading the road ahead and making conscious decisions about the speed you are travelling, when you should accelerate and when you need to brake, you will be more relaxed and will get maximum miles from your fuel. You need to drive like a pussycat, purring as you go.
I have always enjoyed driving, and I get a buzz when I do it well. After I passed my car test I took extra lessons to bring my driving up to a good standard to be able to take the Institute of Advanced Motorists test. When I passed it I was offered a job as a driving instructor, by the owner of the driving school I learnt to drive with. I took him up on it and went through the training to gain the qualification needed.
About a year or so after that I decided to move up a peg or two and go for the HGV (trucks) licence, which I passed at the first attempt. Most people do not take extra tests once they have got the licence they want, but I went on to do more training and take the test for a PSV (buses) licence, the motorcycle test, and six advanced driving tests in cars and lorries, with the IAM and RoSPA. I gained a Class 1 Advanced Certificate with RoSPA.
All this training is now paying off for me in my quest to get the most for my money, and I'll tell you how. Fuel consumption can vary widely according to how you drive. From the moment I step into my car I am aware of the fact that every time I put my foot on the accelerator it's costing me money. Every time I move off I apply a gentle pressure on the gas pedal, and steadily build up speed. I don't rev the balls off it, and I don't try and go from nought to sixty in 2.5 seconds. I don't need to race away at traffic lights to beat the guy next to me, because if I do I will watch the petrol gauge go down. This is why it is important to plan your journey, leave plenty of time to get there so you dont need to rush. I don't rush anywhere now.
If you absolutely hate driving you will abuse your car, you don't want to be there you just want to get to your destination. If that's the case it will cost you more, so be prepared to pay for it. A bad temper behind the wheel and other motorists will wind you up, you wont be concentrating because you have other things on your mind. You will be accelerating and braking when you don't need to be, so if you want to burn your money go ahead and do that.
Which bit of the road are you looking at when you are driving? When I am behind the wheel I look just beyond the bonnet, then my eyes scan the road ahead so my brain can take note of anything which might make the need for adjustments to speed and direction. Approaching a roundabout up ahead I take my foot off the gas pedal quite a distance away from it, I let the car slow down naturally, and when I reach the give way, I brake gently if I need to. If there is no traffic I don't brake at all as I have already slowed down and selected a lower gear to be able to continue. The same technique can be applied on the approach to traffic lights. Watch the sequence of the light changes before you get there, work out how long it will be untill your side will be green depending on how many changes there are and how many roads meet at that point.
I concentrate on my driving so I can plan a course of action, that way I can make informed decisions on when I need to gain speed or slow down. By looking as far in the distance as I can see I am never taken by surprise because I know what's coming. The advanced driving rule is that you should always be in the right position on the road, and going at the correct speed for the conditions.
The speed limit on a motorway and a dual carriageway is 70 mph, I very rarely reach that speed. I travel between 55 and 60mph, that way I get the best fuel consumption I can. I will happily sit behind a lorry for ages in the first lane at 56mph, lorries are limited to that. I am aware that if I put my foot down and go faster it is costing more money. It's surprising how many people do the same, I am often in a convoy with two or three others, all doing the same steady speed.
Something else I do is remove everything out of the car when I return home. I don't carry clutter around with me because that adds weight to the car, which will increase fuel consumption.
So, when you are about to make a journey clear the junk out of your car, and clear the junk out of your head. Put all other thoughts in a closed box in the corner of your brain, and concentrate fully on the job in hand, your driving. Tell other people in the car not to talk to you because that will interupt your train of thought. Distractions can literally be a killer. After many years of sitting high up in a lorry I have seen what devastation can be caused through lack of concentration.
If you feel your driving skills are not up to scratch, you could invest in a few extra lessons. You can get free training from RoSPA http://roadar.org/
or the Institute of Advanced Motorists http://www.iam.org.uk/
Worth it if it's going to save you money, and it might even save your life.
Hello, I am a 69 year old retired lorry driver. After trucking for 32 years I'd had enough, went part time when I was in my mid 50's and stopped altogether when I reached 60. Yippeeee, now I am free to do as I like. I live with two cats, I make do and mend being very careful with my spending, only buying what I need. I have no qualms about buying second hand from car boot sales and charity shops, and getting free stuff from skip diving. Money saved is put towards holidays, a decent car, and days out. I love life, and it needn't cost a fortune to enjoy it.
1000 mile challenge 2018
We start our third year of the 1000 mile walking challenge on the 1st of January. Members of the Walking Group will need to declare their intention to start, with a comment on the first post of the year, and report in on the 1st of every month after that with their own mileage. If you feel that 1000 miles is too much for you, make up your own challenge. Any walking is better than no walking. The aim is to improve our health and fitness. Remember, you need to allocate time to do this, going for the odd ramble when you feel like it is not really enough. Walk fast, walk with a purpose.
Onward we go, new and old members welcome. Let's work hard to keep in good shape.
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Free things I have found, or been given, or I have asked for.
Left over food from a buffet - I asked for it...Frozen fish and vegetables - given to me by a friend....Pair of black steel toe cap work boots - found in a layby....Crystal necklace on a chain - found on a grass verge.... Eiderdown - given from a friend....pair of slippers - given from a friend....3 cans of cider - found in the churchyard....Two small conifer plants - found in a rubbish bin....A whole load of stuff - found in a skip....65p in coins - found in the street....An orange plastic pumpkin bucket - found while litter picking....17p in coins - found in the street while litter picking....Pile of magazines - given to me....Two bottles of water, a goody bag, and a medal - given to me for escorting my friend on her sponsored walk....Two golf balls - found while out dog walking....Two bags of usefull stuff - given to me from my friends declutter....Wooly hat and gloves - given to me....Coins total £1.10 - found....12 pearl beads - found....Yellow plastic dogs ball - found in a field....32p in coins - found on grass verge....A five pence coin - found on a footpath....A yellow Frizby - found on a grass verge....10p coin - found in the woods....Three course dinner and 2 mince pies - given to me....Plastic garden table - given to me....£1 coin, 5p coin, 2p coin - found in a car park....Seven daily newspapers - borrowed from a newspaper recycling box....A dress, a skirt, a jumper, 4 teashirts - my friend gave them to me....A bowl of home made soup - my friend gave it to me....A cabbage - my friend gave it to me....Two potatoes - found on the side of the road....A bag of apples - my neighbour gave them to me....cup of coffee at the arts centre - free with a voucher....70 craft magazines - given to me....A canvas windbreak - found in a skip....Two pot plants with flowers - found in a rubbish bin....A 20p coin - found....2 wheelbarrow loads of compost - I asked for it....Pieces of timber - I asked for them....Tin of Nivea cream - free sample ....Tube of face cream - free sample....Bag of chocolate biscuits - given to me....Two bags of horse muck - I asked for them....A metre of fabric - given to me....Packet of bread rolls - given to me....A 2p coin - found....Cupboard with a glass front - given to me....Bunch of flowers - found in a rubbish bin....Planter - given to me....Six wooden pallets - I asked for them....Cup of coffee - given to me at Radio Humberside....Free night school classes at the college....Tub of Lurpak spreadable - free with voucher....A 2p coin - found in the street....Three pallets - I asked for them....Four plastic crates from the takeaway - retrieved from skip.... A hard hat - given....A gigantic roll of shrink wrap, used for wrapping palletised loads - I asked for it....A plastic bucket and lid with emulsion paint in it - found in the hedge bottom....A tub of Lurpack spreadable - free with a voucher....Free dental check up....A free tub of golden syrup ice cream, my friend gave it to me....A box of chocolates - my other friend gave it to me....A 1p coin - found in the street....A bag of potatoes, packet of blueberries, packet of tomatoes - my friend gave them to me....A flower pot - found in the hedge bottom....Three plastic crates from the takeaway - retrieved from skip....