Treat the gas pedal like a water tap: The more you press it, the more fuel will be released into the engine. Press it gently to accelerate, and you’ll use less fuel to go the same distance.
Don’t speed: According to Natural Resources Canada, a vehicle uses 20 per cent more fuel to drive at 120 km/h than at 100 km/h.
Don’t idle: An idling engine is a waste of fuel and gets nowhere. Automatic start-stop technology is being fitted to more vehicles these days as standard, but you can turn off the engine yourself and save fuel if you’ll be parked for 30 seconds or more.
Plan ahead: Watch traffic and look out for hills so you can maintain a steady speed. Braking and accelerating use extra fuel. If you can coast to a halt, that will lower your engine speed for longer and use less fuel.
Stay smooth: Wind up the windows to keep your car streamlined into the wind. A convertible can use one-third more fuel when the roof is down than when it’s up, so imagine the effect of turbulence going through the windows of a sedan.
MELT: This is short for Minimum Eye Lead Time. In urban areas, you should be scanning the road 12-15 seconds ahead – or about one city block. On the highway, it’s 20-30 seconds – or as far as the eye can see. Vision is a driver’s first line of defence, and it’s always better to anticipate hazards rather than react to them.
Check: Rear mirror? Check. Side mirrors? Check. Every 5-8 seconds. Check them before slowing, before and after turning, while stopping, and while stopped.
Parking: Whenever possible, back into a parking space. Ideally, drive through one spot to park in another. The blind spot at the rear of a vehicle is larger than in front.
At a red light: Wait three-four car lengths back if there is no vehicle behind you at a light. Move up one car length every time a car approaches and plan an escape in case you are about to get hit from behind.
Left turns: Position your vehicle when waiting to allow yourself and others to spot problems. Wait with your wheels straight before making a turn (not pointed in the direction you wish to go). Should a vehicle strike you from behind, you won’t be pushed into oncoming traffic.