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Using the Government's Eco Safe Driving Plan

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 28 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Eco-safe Driving Test Planning Control

The purpose of the government’s eco-safe driving plan is to help drivers use less fuel; cut back on carbon dioxide emissions; reduce accidents and improve general road safety; encourage motorists to adopt an eco-friendly and a money-saving style of driving.

Driving Test

Eco-safe motoring is now an informal part of the driving test. Poor eco-safe driving techniques do not result in test failure; but examiners assess eco-safe driving skills and give feedback.


Eco-safe driving relies on a driver’s attitude to planning and control. The idea behind planning is to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions. To do this, a driver must anticipate what is happening on the road. Such anticipation must go hand-in-hand with calm and thoughtful action. In other words, a driver must react to changing traffic conditions in plenty of time. The opposite of eco-safe driving is to react at the last second.

There are various examples of planning:

  • If a traffic light turns from green to red, slow down in plenty of time rather than brake hard when close to the light
  • If a car is likely to be waiting at a traffic light or in a queue for a while, switch off the engine
  • When the road signs show that a hazard lies ahead, prepare for this by slowing down in good time


Control refers to the way in which a driver uses a car’s mechanical functions. To drive in an eco-safe manner, a driver must employ a style that is smooth and relaxed. Such a style helps keep the mechanical parts of a car in good condition. It also reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

Any driver hoping to control a car in an eco-safe way should:

  • Never drive too fast
  • Use the gears properly without building excessive revs
  • Accelerate and brake smoothly at all times

Further Advice

Other eco-safe driving advice covers almost every aspect of road use by motorists:

1. Always plan a route. Think about the shortest route and also the route that avoids traffic congestion. The latter can sometimes be quicker.
2. Check tyre pressure regularly. Make sure the tyres are set at the manufacturer’s recommended pressures.
3. Check the oil level and keep it at the right level. Also check the levels of all other engine fluids regularly.
4. When there’s no need to carry a roof rack, remove it. The same applies to a roof box. Roof boxes and roof racks cause wind resistance and increase fuel consumption.
5. Don’t leave boxes or tools in a car when there’s no need to carry them. The extra weight increases fuel consumption.
6. Never accelerate fast. Build up speed steadily and gently. Don’t go above the speed limit for the road.
7. If a car has cruise control, use it whenever a chance presents itself.
8. Don’t use air conditioning unless the weather is hot and humid. Air conditioning reduces a car’s fuel efficiency.
9. Avoid using a car during peak periods. If travelling in peak periods is unavoidable, plan the least congested route.

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this is an excellent site. i was looking for information to help with the' show me tell me' part of the uk driving test, and this has explained simply and clearly the reasons for the checks and why they are relevent. I'll know what i'm talking about now when answering these questions. thank you!
serenity - 12-Oct-11 @ 11:04 AM
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