It takes more than driving

| 10 min read | 10 min read
"The success of your journey and your destination depends on who is driving”, said singer and song writer Bruce Springsteen and when it comes to fuel efficient driving it is the absolute truth. Driving is a performing art, which needs training, nurturing and practice.
It takes more than driving

It is not any different when it comes to driving Volvo trucks. The trucks are the best in business, but to get the maximum out of them solely depends on the driver. As fuel costs account for more than 70% of the operational costs, it is up to a good driver to maximize productivity. That is why we at Volvo Trucks are committed to supporting the driver in every way possible – helping to take even the best drivers to a higher level. After all driving a heavy vehicle requires certain skills.

Fuel efficient driving means more than getting the vehicle from point A to point B. Safe, efficient driving has a big positive impact on the bottom line, while contributing to real change and social progress in the community. Drivers are the tools that you need to sharpen, to drive your business.

Fuelwatch - from a competition to a religion Years ago, Volvo realized that the final results for fuel efficiency lies in making the drivers understand the importance of state-of-the-art technology that they work with and the best driving practices. Because in commercial vehicle operations, the difference between normal driving practices and the best driving practices can result in a major difference in fuel consumption.

Fuelwatch is a competition that started out in 2010 in India, specially designed for Volvo Tipper drivers. Over the years the competition has proven that the best drivers have achieved upto 25% better fuel efficiency.

The results have convinced operators to encourage their drivers to adopt the ‘Best Driving Practices’ as a Bible. Whatever be the site, the principles remain the same.

Driver Training - The first step in the right direction The success of a journey begins with the first step and in this case it is Driver Training that has been prescribed across the world. In India, even before Volvo launched its first truck, a Driver Training Center was set up to educate drivers about the advanced technology of the high performing Volvo trucks. The Volvo Driver Training Center works all year round to train drivers. So far we have trained over 1,08,000+ drivers to enhance their skills.

India Fuelwatch Truck transport might be your business, but for us at Volvo, trucks are our passion. It is our business to ensure that you get the most from your fleet. Volvo Trucks initiated the Fuelwatch competition on a global platform, where professional truck drivers of on-road and off-road applications competed to drive in the best fuel efficient manner possible. These competitions helped bring out the fact that there is always room for improvement with better driving practices and it goes a long way in higher savings.

In India, the competition encouraged drivers across the regions to understand the nuances of fine driving and how they could help fleet operations achieve business goals. The competition also helped understand the importance of timely maintenance, which ensures high vehicle uptime, delivering higher productivity and maximum reliability.

India Fuelwatch 2019 - A Drivers’ Challenge is our most demanding competition ever. The goal is to elevate the role of the truck driver and highlight the importance of efficient driving skills. To do this, the competition will challenge the driver’s skills in the areas of fuel efficiency, safety and productivity – all vital to promoting professional pride, the customer’s bottom line and social progress in communities everywhere.

Take Fuel Efficiency. Did you know that the driver can influence fuel consumption by upto 30%? Being a driver is a big responsibility. Not just in terms of improving the bottom line but also reducing emissions. And there’s always room for improvement. At Volvo Trucks, we are committed to supporting the driver in every way possible. A good example is our Driver Development programme – driver skills and competence matter.

Take Productivity. Even a small increase in productivity will have a big impact on the bottom line. And the driver plays an important role. Studies show that a trained driver is more likely to get each assignment done safely and more efficiently, while also taking better care of the truck. At Volvo Trucks, we are committed to supporting the driver in every way possible. From technical innovations like I-Shift to our Driver Development programme. After all, driver skills and competence matter.

Take safety. Did you know that about 35% of serious injuries or fatalities in accidents involving trucks are vulnerable road users, such as children and cyclists? The driver has an important responsibility. Lives are at stake. At Volvo Trucks, safety has always been the top priority. And we are committed to doing everything we can to support the driver. Our Driver Development programme, for example, includes training for safer driving. After all, a skilled and attentive driver is more likely to avoid accidents from happening in the first place. Yes, driver skills are vital.

The Ten Commandments to fuel efficient driving

  1. Plan your trip
    - Plan your driving route in advance where possible, keep to flat roads or choose a route that minimizes engine horsepower requirement and the need to use brakes.
    -  Get the latest updates on road, weather and traffic conditions.
    -  Try to avoid rush hours.
  2. Always conduct vehicle checks
    - Daily routine checks covering front to rear, interior and exterior of the vehicle are vital for both safety and vehicle uptime.
    - Check that the vehicle runs normally before you start your journey.
    - Ensure mirrors and seat positions are adjusted correctly.
    - Check the tyre pressure regularly and ensure it is properly inflated. Lack of tyre pressure increases fuel consumption significantly in the long run.
  3. Do not overload the vehicle
    - The amount of load is directly linked to the vehicle’s fuel consumption. Therefore avoid excessive and unnecessary loads.
    - Be aware of the legal limit and the maximum safe capacity of the truck.
  4. Mind your own health and body
    - Always get enough rest and relax before long distance driving.
    - Stretch before starting on a long journey, this physical aches and pains while driving.
    - If you are tired on the road, take a break!
    - Stay hydrated.
  5. Maintain a constant speed
    - Operate at a constant speed and keep speed as low as practical.
    - Avoid strong and sudden use of the brake and accelerator pedals.
    - Anticipate road conditions and always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. This reduces the tendency of braking and increases fuel economy.
  6. Minimize gear shifting
    - Maximise top gear usage as much as you can.
    - Do not shift down too early while slowing down.
  7. Learn to coast like a pro
    - Back off the accelerator – let the truck roll
    - Keep brake application to the minimum and maintain a safe momentum.
    - Take advantage of the terrain to keep moving with minimum effort.
    - Fuel burn is directly proportional to accelerator pressure, so a light right foot is crucial.
  8. Minimize idling
    - Minimize unnecessary idling.
    - Park, brake on, engine off.
  9. Conduct regular vehicle maintenance
    - Regular vehicle maintenance can reduce wear and tear, and the need for repairs and reducing the costs as well.
  10. Always be safe
    - Plan your route where possible; avoid bad weather conditions and traffic congestions.
    - Conduct proper and regular checks / maintenance to ensure that your vehicle is in top condition.
    - Do not overload.
    - Do not use your mobile phone while driving.
    - Do not drink alcohol before or during the drive. This can decrease alertness and impair judgment.
    - Keep to a safe speed without sudden braking or acceleration.

The India Fuelwatch 2019 - A Drivers’ Challenge will feature drivers across India on 16-17 July, 2019 where skills are measured at various stations. Join us at Korba, India to motivate the drivers.