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Responsible and serene driving

The turn signal

Put on your turn signal to indicate your intentions to others: it doesn't cost anything and avoids unnecessary braking by other drivers in round-abouts, for example. It's nice to be able to save on one's fuel consumption, and even nicer to be able to help others do the same.

Car pooling


Drive on vegetable oil: if yours is a diesel engine, keep this to a maximum of 30% outside of engine modifications. Not only will this be less costly, but it's also ecological, works just as well and you get to enjoy the lovely smell of fries.

And it helps local farmers, while reducing the amount of money that goes to the State, petroleum companies and petroleum-exporting countries, which are rarely democracies. Similarly, if you own a gasoline engine, use ethanol even if the efficiency is fairly poor and the production of ethanol encroaches, to a certain extent, on that of food crops.

Biofuels are certainly not a durable solution because of the need to choose between food and biofuel production, but in my opinion, they are not as bad as consuming hydrocarbons, which are extremely harmful products that have caused death and turmoil in many exporting countries - Nigeria, Darfur, Iraq, etc. Besides, I am convinced that the second generation biofuels will enable us to drive cleanly without encroaching on the cultivation of food crops. Buying biofuels is an action in support of research on new biofuels that are more ecological than the current ones. And besides - not that we need to clear our conscience - the world food crisis stems more from food wastage than the production of ethanol at the expense of beetroot. Let us eat less meat and drive more on biofuels.

If you use biofuels, do check that they don't come from deforested areas - palm oil from Malaysia, certain types of ethanol from Brazil, etc. - and please be aware that although the use of crude vegetable oil is prohibited in France, it is authorized by Brussels in all EU countries (and therefore in France).

Sunflowers, from which vegetable oil can be extracted to be used as a biofuel.

Sun Flowers
Sunflowers. We can set up biofuel with its oil

Car pooling

Car pool as often as you can. It allows you to divide up the various costs of owning a car, for driving is indeed expensive. At an average price of $0.45 to $0.68/km, driving 100 km (60 miles) costs between $45 and $68. And don't forget that on top of fuel costs, you have to pay for insurance, the car itself, loan interests, mechanic's fees, registration papers, fines, a driver's license, toll charges, parking fees, cleaning fees, etc.

This is why I sometimes car pool with people whom I don't know and who simply responded to my internet ad. It's convivial and economical for both the car pooler and car poolee, while polluting less since fuel consumption is shared among more passengers and avoids the car poolees having to take their own car, which reduces the co2 emitted per passenger at the same time.

To find out more, read the article Car pooling

Be courteous

Be courteous when driving: what's the point in not giving way to a car even if it doesn't have the right of way, if you are going to end up being stuck several meters ahead anyway? Be cool with people doing parallel parking, people who are desperately waiting for an opportunity to enter a lane, pedestrians who don't dare to step down at a crossing that is not equipped with lights when they do in actual fact have right of way in such a case. You'll see: you will definitely get a friendly wave in return, which is good for everyone's mood.

Drive serenely

If you ever find yourself being tailgated on the freeway, don't stress out and don't accelerate just to please him/her. Don't slow down either to avoid being crashed into. Worst comes to the worst, bearing in mind that it does involve some risks, lift your foot very slightly off the accelerator so as to slow down. The best solution consists in driving at the same speed and not giving in to blackmail from feeling stressed. If he/she keeps on tailgating you, clean your rear windshield cheerfully so that the windshield liquid lands on the front windshield of the car that is tailgating you. If this doesn't suffice, flash your lights or sound your horn. All the while keeping your cool.

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