Everyone into the Pool!

Article By: Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall is Director of Training for Young Drivers of Canada.  He was a judge on the first 3 seasons of Canada’s Worst Driver on Discovery Network. Scott started writing columns on driving for his community paper since 2005.  Since then his columns have been printed in several publications including newspaper, magazines and various web-sites. You can visit his own blog at http://safedriving.wordpress.com.

As consumers we’ll often do what it takes to make ends meet and get good deals. I’ve known many people who mainly buy items when they’re on sale because they feel it’s a better way to spend their money. Are you always trying to get the most out of your money? With the high price of fuel, is there anything you can do while driving to help you save money?

Driving economically is something many drivers will do. This would include smooth acceleration starting out from a stop, early and smooth braking and keeping the vehicle properly maintained. But have you ever thought that the best way to save fuel is to avoid driving as much as you do? I know that may sound unrealistic, but it can be done quite easily.

I often see vehicles heading off in the morning with only a driver inside the vehicle with no passengers. If you’re one of those drivers, have you ever thought about sharing rides with other people who are heading to the same location instead of driving independently? Carpooling is a great way to save while driving. For example, if you drove every other week with a co-worker, or someone who works close to where you work you’re saving almost half of your fuel bill each month. You’ll also save kilometres on your vehicle which helps to keep the resale value of your vehicle higher and it may qualify you for a low mileage discount on your car insurance.

Other savings you’ll have by carpooling is with fewer kilometres you’ll be able to delay your maintenance checks. Considering those service checks are usually based on kilometres that are put on your vehicle, you wouldn’t need the service checks as often. That will certainly save you money in the long run. Also saving you money would be your parking costs. If you share the drive with a co-worker, you pay for parking one week, they pay for the other. As many business owners would say, to improve your profits, reduce your expenses.

Now that we’ve discussed financial savings, what about emotional savings? If you’re carpooling and are only driving every other week, you get a chance to relax on the way to and from work. Stress associated to the hectic traffic around you will only really affect you 2 weeks out of the month. Sharing rides is also good for the driver. It helps them stay alert after a long day at work. We all know what it can feel like after an exhausting day. Having that passenger to keep you company can also help your morale stay positive. And don’t forget that with fewer vehicles on the roads can reduce harmful greenhouse gases.

Here’s another benefit that you may not have thought of. If more people carpool, the roads would be less congested. Less congested roads may mean less congested parking lots too. More than half of the commuters across Canada drive alone, but that can change if you give it a try. So what are you waiting for? Everyone into the pool!