Driver coasting: Breakdown on why it’s NOT good for business
You may have drivers who think coasting is a great idea. The myth goes that it saves on fuel and makes you a clever driver.
It doesn’t! Not only does it not save you fuel, it can also damage your fleet. So, read on to find out how you can put a stop to it. Plus, how you can use telematics to save money and improve fleet management.
Why driver coasting is bad for business
So, what is coasting? Well, it’s when a driver puts the clutch down and the vehicle is in neutral. That way, the car kind of just trundles along—coasting!
A lot of drivers make the mistake of thinking it’s a great way to save fuel. It isn’t. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s a terrible way to save fuel.
What actually happens when drivers coast is the wheels are disengaged from the engine. Not only is it a bad driving technique, it causes all sorts of problems. Like:
- Picking up more speed than normal
- Increasing the wear of your vehicle (increased speed means more braking)
- Driver safety is compromised because they don’t get as much control over their vehicle
- There’s less time to react if the driver needs to avoid a hazard
Driver coasting is also bad for vehicles. Whether you’ve got cars or vans in your fleet, coasting causes wear and tear on the pedals.
Particularly the brakes. Drivers have to use them more aggressively, so over time that becomes a real problem because it wears the pedal out.
Coasting doesn’t cut lower your fuel consumption
The myth coasting saves fuel is just plain wrong.
Remember, modern vehicles are fitted with ECUs (electronic control units). When a driver is driving around, the ECU reduces fuel automatically. That’s whenever the accelerator isn’t being pressed down.
If a driver decides to coast in neutral, like if they’re going down a hill, then that’s when the wheels disconnect from the engine.
That then means the vehicle can’t get rotational power from the wheels.
And that then means some fuel is used to keep the engine powering along, which means it’s idling and not taking power from the wheels.
If your whole fleet is doing that all of the time, you can then see why it’s causing such a big problem over months and years.
How you can stop driver coasting with telematics
After reading the above you’ll probably want to cut out bad driving techniques.
Good idea, because they can damage your fleet over time and cause all sorts of problems. It’s a driving hazard, it lowers fuel efficiency and it costs you cash on upkeep. Plus, bad driving affects your company’s image.
What’s the solutions? Well, vehicle telematics to the rescue!
With a bunch of devices fitted to your fleet, you can get vital data like:
- Live location tracking
- Temperature sensors and alerts
- Real-time vehicle diagnostics
- Dashcams and multi-channel cameras
- Plant and asset trackers
And, yes, that means you’ll be able to tell if you’ve got driver coasting going on.
That’s why telematics is so crucial for any modern business. You can check out any bad habits your drivers have. Then you can tell them to cut it out.
Over time, it’s a real money saver. It’ll do your fleet the world of good, keeping your vehicles in tip-top condition.
But it’ll also make sure your drivers are safe and being mindful about their driver. And that’s really important for their safety, plus for other road users.
iCompario tip: Telematics solves your problems!
Vehicle telematics can tell you exactly how much time each driver has left a vehicle idling. That means you can calculate the amount of fuel each driver wastes and track your drivers as they improve.
A few more pointers on driver coasting
Now we’ve got the basics out of the way, it’s worth covering a few more areas on coasting. Just to make sure you understand all about it, before getting a solution.
Is driver coasting illegal?
No, it’s not illegal. But it’s a very bad idea. When coasting, your driver isn’t in full control of their vehicles. And that’s always a recipe for disaster.
If they get involved in an accident when not in full control of the car or van, then that’s an offence and can have serious legal consequences.
The Highway Code’s driver coasting verdict
You can check out the Highway Code’s Rule 122 for the verdict on coasting.
“Coasting. This term describes a vehicle travelling in neutral or with the clutch pressed down. It can reduce driver control because:
- engine braking is eliminated
- vehicle speed downhill will increase quickly
- increased use of the footbrake can reduce its effectiveness
- steering response will be affected, particularly on bends and corners
- it may be more difficult to select the appropriate gear when needed.”
So, there you go. Straight from the Highway Code, it’s not a good idea.
Tips on saving fuel across your fleet
If you really want to save on fuel, you can try some of these ideas:
- Use air con carefully: Only use air-conditioning at the right speed. Drive more than 50mph while you do, because air con uses 10% more fuel (on average).
- No engine idling: Don’t leave the car ticking over. Not a good idea! On any front, plus it burns your fuel on the long-term costing you a lot of money every year.
- Use the right gears: Driving in the right gear keeps the rev counter away from the red zone. Make sure your drivers are laid back! There’s no need to floor it.
- No tailgating: White van drivers have a bad reputation for this. But it harms your business, too, because drivers often have to stamp on the brakes. And that causes damage in the long run.
- No speeding: Stay under the speed limit and travel slowly. Your drivers aren’t in the races at Silverstone, they’re getting from A-B.
Good ideas, right? You should also check out our guide to simple ways for fleets to save fuel.
That’ll help you out in the long-term to keep your fleet trucking, minus loads of excessive fuel losses.
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