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Managing your speed

Introduction - knowing how to use common sense

If you don't own a hybrid car (which is more than likely), you can nonetheless obtain very good results thanks to an Eco-Attitude. To do this, use your common sense. When you cycle, haven't you ever noticed that at 20 km/h in town areas, you actually go as fast as cars that go from 50km/h to 0 then from 0 to 50? And you probably would have noticed that it is less tiring to cycle at a constant speed rather than continually change speeds? Apply this same principle of using the least possible effort to your car: she too has the right to rest and consume less gas.

Drive at a constant speed

Drive at a constant speed whenever possible. This means that in dense traffic, avoid driving at 50 km/h since you would have to brake sooner or later; restrict your speed to 40-45 km/h instead, or drive at 50 all the while keeping a certain safety distance between yourself and the car in front of you. This way, if the car in front slows down a little, you will have the possibility of deciding what to do next, whereas if you tailgate, you will have to follow its speed variations and consume more gas.

When in doubt, it is better to drive more slowly rather than too fast. Drive at 50 km/h only if the traffic flows freely and this speed can be maintained for a certain period.

Keep braking to a minimum

Braking is useful but definitely not ideal because:

- It wears down the brake pads, which implies having to change them more often (and therefore spend money more often).
- It increases the risk of being run in by the car behind sometime or other (safety risk and financial risk in having to pay for repairs).
- It's stressful when you have to use emergency braking
- Going from 50 km/h (30 mph) to 0 on a 1.2 tonne vehicle means 32 Wh wasted (the amount required to keep a PC running for an hour).

So avoid braking as far as possible, except in the event of unforeseen circumstances – a child who runs onto the road without warning, a light that suddenly turns red, an animal crossing the freeway, etc. Obviously, if there is a red light, you will have to brake some time or other. But if you cruise along and let your speed decrease naturally and gradually from 50 to 15 km/h (30 to 10 mph), then brake from 15 to zero (10 mph to 0), that would mean meters of free driving and less wear on brake pads.

Consider braking to be the result of not having anticipated a red light or a slow-down in traffic, in other words as a result of poor driving. Do this for 3 reasons:

- Braking leads to acceleration and hence pollution.
- Braking leads to speed variations and hence discomfort for passengers and stress for the driver in the best of scenarios, accidents in the worst case scenario, e.g. black ice, etc.
- Braking is a waste of time. If the light goes to green, you have to accelerate once again. But if you had maintained some speed by "cruising" in neutral towards the light, you will be able to reaccelerate at once and overtake the line of cars at a standstill on your right.

To brake less, several simple techniques can be used:

-Don't tailgate. This way, if the vehicles in front of you slow down, you will only have to lift your foot off the accelerator. Never stay less than 50 meters behind the vehicle in front of you on the freeway; ideally, you should keep a 100-meter safety distance.
-When you brake as you approach a red light, even from a distance, release the clutch and put the car into neutral, or let your car slow down by itself by lifting your foot off the accelerator, and let the inertia bring you towards the red light. Contrary to the 90% of French people who drive aggressively - i.e. maintaining their speed right till the very end then braking at the last minute - this technique offers many advantages:
-Optimize your acceleration: when you know your route well, there is no use accelerating at the top of a hill if there is a descent thereafter, in order to slow down. Put your car into neutral/let up on the accelerator a little before the top of the hill. If you are familiar with the timing of the lights on your usual route, drive at the just the right speed necessary to arrive at the lights when they go back to green.
-On a typical road, instead of braking from 90 to 50 km/h (55 to 30 mph) when you enter a village, put your car into neutral or use engine braking before arriving at the village until you reach 50 km/h (30 mph) .

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