When it comes to driving well with others on the road, there's much we can learn from fish.
Spend some time watching schools of fish and you'll find that, no matter how many individual fish might be in a hurry to reach their destination, they never make a turn into oncoming traffic and never change lanes without signaling a turn. They don't tailgate. They maintain a unique collective equilibrium and hardly ever require collision repair.
Speed limits on highways are intended to replicate natural order and provide a semblance of vehicular equilibrium (that comes naturally to fish). Not only is it safer for you to drive slower (say 55 to 60 mph versus 65 to 70 mph, it will improve your fuel economy saving you money too.
Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) can get you killed and it wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is safer for you and everybody else. That's a win-win.
Here are some tips that can keep you safe and save money too:
Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.29 per gallon.
Keep tires properly inflated. (We touched on this recently but it bears repeating!) Multiple sources say proper inflation improves fuel economy from 3% to 5%.
Avoid excessive idling. If you're standing still, and the A/C is running you're burning anywhere from a quarter of a gallon to a half-gallon per hour depending on your engine size.
Use cruise control on long trips but never when it's raining! Maintaining a constant speed versus accelerating and decelerating helps reduce fuel consumption.
Get the junk out of the trunk. Especially in small cars, reducing the weight the vehicle carries by 100 pounds can increase your fuel economy by up to 2%. (Keep the golf clubs but leave the tool box and heavy stuff at home!)
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