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Economical driving is safer driving – and here’s why

Reading Time: 6 minutes

At Redtail, we like to use the data our devices produce to help our customers save money.  If we can also help save the environment and reduce road accidents, that’s even better.  We do what we can to help align economical driving and safer driving to save money and our planet.

Road transport accounts for over 11% of our CO2 emissions!

If you can’t reduce the amount you drive, here is some advice from Redtail’s engineers on how to lower your contribution to those emissions.​​

The force (and therefore the fuel) needed to propel a vehicle can be described by a very complex-looking formula.


Our engineers find this fascinating, but if equations like this don’t excite you, please keep reading.  It’s not as complex as it seems as it can be broken down into 3 parts.  The first part is largely about reducing weight, the second about driving more slowly and the third about braking and accelerating less.

Reducing unnecessary weight…


The first part of the equation accounts for about 35% of the fuel consumption in both urban and rural driving.


It is the energy needed to overcome the friction to move a vehicle’s wheels on the road.  You can do two things to reduce this – eliminate unnecessary mass (reduce the M),  (Do you have things in your boot you do not need?), secondly, ensure your tires are at the correct pressure (reduce the Correct-tyre-pressure).   (To reduce g you need to launch your car into space.  This has been done recently but is a little impractical for most of us.)

Reducing speed and drag…


The second part of this equation accounts for about 57% of fuel consumption in rural driving and 24% in urban driving.


Put simply, it is the energy needed to push a vehicle through the air.

To reduce this, the most important thing is to reduce your speed (V).  If you reduce your speed from 70 mph to 60mph, this will reduce the fuel used by 36%.  You should also reduce the drag on your vehicle (Reduce-drag-on-vehicle) – do you have a roof rack left over from your last holiday? – if so, removing it will reduce the fuel you use.

Reducing speed is often easier said than done.  Modern cars are quiet and it is easy to drive quickly without realizing it.  Redtail’s telematics devices can tell you where you have been driving faster than the average on a stretch of road, so you have an extra incentive to slow down.

Avoiding harsh braking and acceleration…


The final part of the equation describes the energy lost in braking and acceleration.


Most of it gets lost as heat when you brake.  In urban driving, about 41% of energy is used in this way.  It’s less important in rural driving but still accounts for 8% of fuel consumption.

Coincidentally, harsh braking and acceleration are related to safe driving.  In millions of miles that have been tracked by Redtail’s devices, journeys with few incidents of harsh braking and acceleration are far less likely to end in a crash.   Redtail’s driver scoring app can tell you where you accelerate and brake quickly and help you drive both more efficiently, more safely and save money.





In conclusion, I hope that this dip into the data science and engineering world of REDTAIL helps explain how we have an understanding that if you drive efficiently you are also driving safely.  I hope that our understanding can in turn help your understanding – REDTAIL is a strong advocate of driver coaching within a UBI program, personal or commercial lines – and perhaps even moderate your driver behaviors a little to benefit both your pocket, the environment and also road safety more widely.  That’s how we think you being a more economical driver and a safer driving can help you save money and our planet!