Does Eco-Driving make you a safer driver?
Hypermiling is a more extreme form of eco-driving, where the goal is to reduce fuel consumption to the lowest amount possible. Sometimes hypermilers make modifications to more than just their driving habits to accomplish their goals, they modify their cars aerodynamics, re-chip their vehicle computers, or use a variety of add-on technologies or fuel additives to help squeeze every yard from a gallon of fuel.
Sometimes hypermilers have been criticized for advocating certain techniques that do save fuel but may be illegal and dangerous – like rolling through stop-signs, or drafting large trucks. Most hypermilers do not engage in these kinds of techniques, realizing the cost of a ticket or accident is far costlier than any savings in fuel.
Eco-driving is distinct in that drivers do not generally make modifications to their vehicles, and abide by all of the “normal” rules of the road. Both techniques share many similar traits where drivers achieve a high degree of awareness of traffic patterns and timing of lights, as well as efficient acceleration with limited stopping. But hypermiling is generally considered the more extreme of the two, while eco-diving is more of an “every-mans” method for improving fuel mileage.
So, back to safety.
Several private fleet studies show that drivers with generally better fuel mileage rating are also among the safest drivers in large fleets. These same studies show that drivers who have the highest number preventable “incidents” are also drivers with the poorest fuel mileage scores. Most of these studies are done in larger commercial fleets that are understandably reticent to discuss actual accident rates publicly.
So there is a connection between fuel efficiency and safety. According to the current discussion at EcoModder, the same correlation appears to apply to those hypermilers who have commented so far.
What do you think?