We all have bad habits in life, but the ones we pick up when driving can be detrimental to the health of our vehicles and the safety of ourselves and other drivers on the road. From forgetting to check blindspots as we pull away, to riding the clutch or driving in the wrong gear, it’s important to regularly check ourselves for any bad habits but there are some that are more common than others. Do you have any of these six bad driving habits?
Driving In The Wrong Gear
You’d be surprised just how easy it is to drive along in the wrong gear without knowing you’re doing it, which is why this is one of the most common bad habits around. Sitting in higher gears is often seen as a way to save on fuel but by failing to move down when needed, this could put a strain on the engine. Similarly, trying to drive faster than the gear allows can lead to stuttering or moans and groans from the engine which are never good. Paying close attention to how your car is driving and the gear you should be in will help maintain the gearbox and engine – and may even help fuel consumption levels.
Riding The Clutch
Riding the clutch, whether that’s with your foot resting slightly on the pedal while you drive or sitting at the bite point while waiting for traffic lights, can cause issues with the pressure plate and more. When the clutch is even slightly engaged, it causes the plates to graze against each other which can wear them down over time and lead to further damage. The best way to avoid this is to keep your foot away from the clutch and on the footrest, as well as using the handbrake and keeping the gears in neutral at traffic lights.
Resting Your Hand On The Gear Stick
Resting one hand on the gearstick as you drive is not only dangerous, leaving you with one hand to steer, but it can also be detrimental to the health of the selector fork in your gearbox. Even the slightest pressure against the gearstick can put pressure on other components within the box, ultimately leading to wear and tear over the years and eventually, breakdown. You should keep both hands on the wheel as often as possible, only holding onto the gearstick when actively changing gears.
Changing Gears Too Quickly
Changing gears too quickly, particularly when moving from a drive gear to reverse, can be another source of wear on your gearbox. It can cause grinding and a harsh noise if done far too soon, or cause general wear and tear of the inner components. Coming to a complete stop before changing into reverse will prevent this and only takes a few extra seconds at most, but will save your gearbox and engine from expensive repairs.
Driving On Low Fuel
Driving with limited or low fuel is surprisingly bad for your vehicle. Not only is there the worry of not making it to the nearest petrol station before it hits ‘empty’, but you also risk doing damage to the catalytic converter and the fuel pumps. Driving on low fuel means that any gunk or debris that has built up at the bottom of the tank risks being picked up and sent through the pump, which, again, may lead to damage or wear and tear. This can be costly if you damage the pump or the converter, ultimately meaning you have to pay out for repairs that could’ve easily been avoided.