Going Green on the Road

If there’s one group of road users who are truly conscious about the effects our love affair with the motorcar has on the environment, it’s driving instructors.

We reported a couple of weeks ago on one instructor who was doing her bit to reduce her carbon footprint by using electric cars to teach learner pupils. Now another instructor in Stroud, Gloucestershire has taken up the challenge, but this time by ‘converting’ other motorists and making them more aware of environmental issues and the impact their driving can have on the planet. Jamie Brind is not only an instructor, but is also a lifelong member of Greenpeace, so he has found it a little challenging (to say the least) in reconciling his political and ideological beliefs with his chosen career.

So to educate the motoring public (something that instructors do best!) he is now launching a series of Green Driving seminars to show drivers different ways of reducing the cost of their fuel bills. This will include driving techniques such as minimising heavy braking and hard acceleration, and ensuring that the vehicle is maintained properly. Something as simple as checking that the tyres have the correct pressure in them can make a huge difference to the fuel consumption of a vehicle.

Cutting emissions and saving money

Jamie believes that the average car owner who drives up to 10,000 miles a year can save up to £400 annually and cut their emissions by around a fifth by using green driving techniques. And he believes that drivers should be inspired to take up the challenge: “Drivers and business can reduce their emissions by a fifth overnight so if everybody did it, it would be like taking a fifth of the cars off the road,” said Jamie.

“There are no good reasons not to do it. People think you would have to drive slowly to limit your impact on the environment but that is not necessarily the case. It is about mindful driving.”

Jamie’s approach is typical of a more responsible attitude being taken by many driving instructors towards the impact that motoring has on the planet. The savings made by employing green driving tactics could be enormous, and Jamie firmly believes that if instructors instil these techniques in learners at the beginning of their driving career then the next generation of drivers could make a real difference to everything from pollution levels and their effect on respiratory diseases, right through to climate change.

Usually, ADIs are more interested in saving money on their driving instructor insurance or the cost of a new teaching vehicle than they are saving the planet. But perhaps if everyone adopted Jamie’s approach, we could all, as an industry, make a real difference to the future, and save some money to boot.

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