13 Tips to Make Your Journey Greener
The British countryside. Until you’ve really experienced it, it’s hard to understand just how different and staggeringly beautiful it all is.
While the idea of the ‘road trip’ is presented more as an American thing, or something you’d do across Europe, a purely British road trip is actually a marvellous experience – there’s a lot to see from the corner of Cornwall to the tip of Scotland, from bustling cities with towering cathedrals, through waterfall-ridden countryside, rolling hills and swathes of eerie purple heather. From national parks to urban street-food – the road trip can provide memories and inspiration for years to come.
That said, chugging around the country with your friends in a convoy of petrol-guzzling 4x4s might not be the more environmentally friendly thing you’ve ever done, and you might end up ruining the very thing you are out to see!
What is green driving?
Rather than referring to the paint colour of your vehicle, green driving is all about doing what you can to protect the environment while out on the road, whether that’s by using a low-emissions vehicle or simply driving with more care.
Luckily, we know a thing or two about how to make your journey greener. Follow these eco-friendly road tips to reduce your carbon footprint and do what a driver can to protect the environment!
13 ways you can help the environment as a driver
1 – Try a different car
Going on a trip is a perfect time for considering driving a different car. While it may seem a little extreme, there’s a lot of sense in hiring a brand new vehicle for your trip:
- The enjoyment of driving something new makes it feel more exciting
- Your own vehicle may not be large enough, or otherwise well suited, to a longer trip
- Newer cars are generally more fuel efficient and feature newer safety features
- You don’t put hundreds of additional miles on your main vehicle, preserving its resale value
- Easier to share the hire with a second driver, and share driving
Of course, the real reason for trying a different car is to put away your petrol or diesel vehicle and go green – electric cars and hybrid cars are the absolute stars of green driving. They are incredibly fuel-efficient, with a low environmental cost. Exactly what you are looking for when planning an environmentally-friendly trip.
If you are planning to go with friends and family in multiple cars, consider getting a single vehicle that fits you all – not only is it a good way to save the environment while driving, but it’s also going to cut down on costs and allow you all to chat together throughout the drive!
2 – Pack light
It’s astonishing how much difference in fuel consumption a heavily laden car makes. When planning a green road trip, plan light! There’s no need for overpacking, and leaving some of that excess at home can make all the difference.
Think about the baggage too – heavy reinforced suitcases can often be replaced with a lightweight canvas bag that is also easier to pack.
3 – Remove the roof rack
Unless you are using the roof rack, think about taking it off. Like the things you put in the car, the things on top of the car can make a difference!
4 – Make sure the car maintenance is up-to-date
It’s a wise idea to have a full service before you go, saving on any inefficiencies brought about by clogged filters or dirty oil.
Check your tyre pressures (you should check tyres regularly), and check car oil levels. Make sure you have unblocked windscreen washers and fill up the screen cleaner ready to go.
5 – Close up shop
You are going to be leaving your home for a few days or more – you don’t need to leave your home running for that time! Make sure you turn off everything you can before you leave, so that there’s no wasted energy in the empty home.
If you really want to go the extra mile, try spending the days before the trip emptying the fridge and freezer and turn those off for the holiday too!
6 – Drive sensibly
It’s not a race, and you’re not late for work – enjoy a more leisurely drive and you are going to get more out of the trip while being green on the road.
Your care while driving makes a huge impact to the eco-friendliness of the drive. Fierce acceleration and top speeds burn fuel, and even when using renewable fuels (such as an electric car), you will need to stop and recharge.
Drive like a considerate tourer and not like a rally driver – that’s how you save the environment when driving!
7 – Plan your route to use all the wiggly roads
If you are wanting to see the countryside, avoid the motorways. Though you may save in time, you will often greatly increase the number of miles you are doing (not a good way to reduce CO2), and feel pressured into maintaining a higher speed.
Besides – aren’t you here to see the countryside?
8 – Avoid services and fast food
The UK is filled with little villages, quaint tea shops and responsible restaurants. Eating in fast food restaurants with their disposable packaging and focus on turnover can undo all your good work.
Carefully prepared meals made from locally sourced food are going to taste a lot better too and will add a whole extra level of enjoyment to your trip.
9 – Cook!
While cooking in hotels is considered a no-no, if your trip is a camping holiday or one where you are staying with friends, take the opportunity to try out some simple meals that you can cook on a campfire.
It’s incredible the deliciousness that comes from a grilled fish done on an open fire or, of course, the singular delights of melted marshmallows (though not as a main course!).
10 – Minimise packaging and dispose of it properly
Consider your own use of packaging while on the road. Try to avoid filling the car with non-recyclable waste and certainly don’t be lazy enough to put easily recycled packaging into a general waste bin. If you plan on having snacks in the car, bring a few pieces of Tupperware to provide sturdy reusable packaging.
There are many recycling centres available throughout your trip – and many of them are expertly signposted. Group your rubbish accordingly and dispose of it responsibly as you would at home.
11 – Opt for Environmentally-Responsible Overnight Arrangements
If the weather is good and you are camping, then check the credentials of the campsites you visit – there’s a growth of really beautiful locations tended by caring environmentalists that are a pleasure to stay in – plus the experience of using facilities like compost-based toilets add again to that ‘away on holiday’ feeling, especially for children.
If you plan to stay in hotels, check the reviews and details of the hotels before you go. Like restaurants, there are ones that are eco-conscious with an eye on waste water and their carbon footprint and unfortunately, plenty that are not.
12 – Hand wash your clothes!
If you are away for any length of time, or you have cut down on excess weight by ditching some clothes, then consider hand washing your clothes rather than using the washing facilities of a hotel or laundrette – just remember to use eco-friendly products rather than powerful chemicals, especially if your cleaning facilities for the day are a clear running stream!
13 – Walk
Just because your trip is a road trip, doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time in the car. When stopping at spots around the country, leave the car behind and take to your feet – after all, what causes the most damage to the environment when driving? The car!
There are plenty of places in the country that can only be seen by foot too – the famous Bothys of Scotland that lie far from any easily accessible road, or the spectacular waterfalls of the Brecon Beacons in Wales, some of the more impressive which are only revealed after trekking four hours from the nearest parking spot.
Walking is not only good for the environment, of course, it’s good for you!
Being a green driver
From electric vehicles to choosing when to walk, being a conscientious driver is a good thing to do no matter what your journey is for – not only is it good for the environment, but it also prevents accidents.
Correct tyre pressure, reduced load in the car, careful driving – all these things can help you make sure you are never at fault if you should become involved in an accident.
We hope any road trip you take is free from incident, but if you should be party to a car accident, give us a call at Non Fault Claims straight away, and we will do what we can to make sure the disruption is minimal! We can also help with replacement vehicles, should your car be too damaged to drive.