Close car win­dows at traf­fic lights

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

SIG­NALISED traf­fic in­ter­sec­tions were found to be high air pol­lu­tion hot-spots. With driv­ers de­cel­er­at­ing and stop­ping at lights, then revving up to move quickly when lights go green, peak par­ti­cle con­cen­tra­tion was found to be 29 times higher than that dur­ing free flow­ing traf­fic con­di­tions.

As well as con­cen­tra­tion, re­searchers found that as cars tend to be close to­gether at lights, the like­li­hood of ex­po­sure to ve­hi­cle emis­sions is also sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased.

Air pol­lu­tion is one of the top 10 health risks we face

“Air pol­lu­tion was re­cently placed in the top 10 health risks faced by hu­man be­ings glob­ally, with the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion link­ing air pol­lu­tion to seven mil­lion pre­ma­ture deaths ev­ery year,” said lead au­thor, Dr Prashant Ku­mar, from the Uni­ver­sity of Sur­rey.

“Our time spent trav­el­ling in cars has re­main fairly con­stant dur­ing the past decade de­spite the ef­forts to re­duce it and with more cars than ever join­ing the roads, we are be­ing ex­posed to in­creas­ing lev­els of air pol­lu­tion as we un­der­take our daily com­mutes.”

How to limit your ex­po­sure to air pol­lu­tion at traf­fic lights

“It’s not al­ways pos­si­ble to change your route to avoid th­ese in­ter­sec­tions, but driv­ers should be aware of the in­creased risks at busy lights. The best ways to limit your ex­po­sure is to keep ve­hi­cle win­dows shut, fans off and try to in­crease the dis­tance be­tween you and the car in front where pos­si­ble,” ad­vised Dr Ku­mar.

As for pedes­tri­ans reg­u­larly cross­ing such routes, he ad­vises them to “con­sider whether there might be other paths less de­pen­dent on traf­fic light cross­ings.” — Uni­ver­sity of Sur­rey

ing that, tune in to traf­fic re­ports or fol­low them on Twit­ter. If you reg­u­larly find your­self stuck in traf­fic, it may be worth speak­ing to your em­ployer about com­ing in half an hour later to skip the heav­i­est traf­fic – al­ter­na­tively, plan your meet­ings in venues closer to home, at the be­gin­ning and the end of your day. 5. Take it easy and don’t drive ag­gres­sively

Ag­gres­sive driv­ing be­hav­iour such as speed­ing, rapid ac­cel­er­a­tion, rac­ing from traf­fic light to traf­fic light and slam­ming on your brakes will all use more fuel. Ed­munds Testing found that ag­gres­sive driv­ing can in­crease your fuel us­age by up to 33 per­cent which sug­gests you could ef­fec­tively re­duce your fuel bill by a third by driv­ing more se­dately. 7. Turn off the air­con

Air con­di­tion­ing is an­other big cul­prit. Your A/C com­pres­sor is run by a belt in the en­gine and does use more fuel when ac­ti­vated. The added con­sump­tion will be more no­tice­able at idle. Testing has shown that air­con can ac­count for about five per­cent of a car’s an­nual fuel bill and for the mod­ern en­ergy-ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cle it’s about half of that amount. Iron­i­cally, driv­ing with your win­dows down is not a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive.

The ex­tra drag caused by open win­dows is not good for your fuel econ­omy. It’s much bet­ter for aero­dy­nam­ics to keep your win­dows shut. Of course, air con­di­tion­ing uses the most fuel when the car idles. Keep your air con­di­tion­ing turned off un­til you’ve reached cruis­ing speed and then turn it on. You don’t have to elim­i­nate air con­di­tion­ing, but try to limit its use. — Al­l4­women

Re­searchers have found time spent at traf­fic lights con­trib­utes to about 25% of to­tal ex­po­sure to th­ese harm­ful pol­lut­ing nanopar­ti­cles.

Make sure that your wheels are bal­anced cor­rectly and your wheel align­ment checked.

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