Wake Up At The Wheel

Sitting Idly By

There is no doubt in my mind that when some people get behind the wheel they just check out completely. I check out more than my fair share but behind the wheel is not one of the locations that I choose to do it. I was sitting at an intersection yesterday waiting and waiting to turn right on a red. As I was sitting there idling, wasting gas (at $1.27 per litre) cars were passing in front of me in a long line. I kept thinking that one of them must be going to turn right, down the street that I was on but not one did. There were two lanes for these cars and any one of them could have pulled into the left lane, allowing me to pull out but not one did! At least ten cars passed in front of me.

Aside from the pain the in the butt factor, there is an environmental impact to this situation. I sat there for about 90 seconds for no reason other than a lack of awareness or concern by other drivers. It got me thinking about how much of an impact I could have if I paid more attention to my own driving. I recently took some great steps in the environmental impact of my driving by reassessing the number of trips I make in a week. You can read about that here in my pennies and nickels and dimes oh my post. There is more that WE can do. Notice I said WE.

Looking around on the internet I was surprised to see how cumbersome it was to find information on how to drive in an environmentally conscious way. There are many articles about choosing a car but not a lot about the way we drive no matter what car. I decided to borrow some of the items I finally did find in this eHow article and add a few of my own to put together a list of things that I can do when in my car to reduce my environmental impact. This is for me of course, but if you could please participate you might just lower both our blood pressures.

What Can I do?

  • Drive less distance overall by combining trips when you run errands, carpooling, or taking public transportation. Like we talked about in pennies and nickels and dimes oh my! This I am doing a much better job of, but still room for improvement.
  • The faster you go, the more emissions you create. Take it easy, enjoy the view. I am not a big speeder or a slow poke. I figure I could shave a few kmph off my speed and make a difference without arriving late!
  • Keep your car tuned-up. If you are burning oil, or using more fuel than you need, you are impacting the environment. There is no doubt that I could do better in this area, I tend to go too far before biting the bullet on an oil change, and even farther for tune-ups.
  • Fuel up early in the day or late at night to reduce evaporation of gas. This is news to me. Should be an easy thing to do if I remember. If I am filling up less often, it will be easy to remember to do it earlier or later in the day.
  • Inflate your tires properly for improved gas mileage. I must admit, unless I see a difference in my tires, never check my tire pressure. The good news is that since I am getting more oil changes, Mr. Lube can check my tire pressure.
  • Remove extra weight from your car. This is another one where I need work. If you saw my trunk, you may think I was about to open a junk store.
  • Change lanes to allow someone to merge or turn sooner. Tell your friends about this one. All of them. I do this perfectly all of the time – seriously.
  • Keep right when you are not passing. This sounds silly but if two cars are going the same speed, covering two lanes. They are stopping every other car from making progress quicker, thereby causing more emissions regardless of the speed.
  • OK the last two are pet peeves I just added myself, but c’mon people!! Wake up!!

I’ve got some work to do.




2 Comments to “Wake Up At The Wheel”

  1. Another excellent post thanks for sharing! I enjoy reading your blog very much. Helping preserve the environment is something I take pride in doing for my community.

    Here are a few things we all can do to help out are planet Earth.

    An Earth Day Promise

  2. Thanks for reading! The more we can do the better. I will be sure to stop by and read your link as well. 🙂

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