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Driving safely with Arval

Eco friendly Driving

'Eco driving tips’ involves a different approach to driving which focuses on efficient use of the vehicle. Over the years, car technology has improved considerably and as a result, drivers need to adopt a different driving style. To ensure that you handle your car responsibly, Arval recommends that you drive according to the principles of ‘Eco driving tips’. This consists of a number of useful driving recommendations that will enable you to save up to 10% in fuel. These fuel savings will both benefit the environment and will lower costs for your employer.


‘Eco driving tips’ comprises the following driving style tips:

Tip 1 – Shift up as soon as possible
Shift up to a higher gear as soon as possible: between 2,000 and 2,500 revolutions. This applies to petrol, diesel and LPG engines.

Tip 2 – Roll out
If you see that you will need to slow down or brake for a traffic signal, release the accelerator in time and let the car roll out, leaving it in the gear you were driving in.

Tip 3 – 80 in fifth
As far as possible, maintain a steady speed and try to achieve a low RPM in the highest gear possible. 

Tip 4 – Tyre pressure
Be sure to check your tyre pressure once a month

Tip 5 – Anticipate
Look as far ahead as you can and anticipate other traffic.

Tip 6 – Turn off your engine
Turn off your engine when you are waiting at an open bridge or a railway crossing, are stuck in a traffic jam or are waiting for a co-passenger to arrive, etc. When you start the engine, do this without pressing the accelerator.

Tip 7 – Accessories
Where possible, make use of the available in-car equipment such as your car’s tachometer, cruise control and board computer.

Tip 8 – Avoid ‘gas guzzlers’
Besides the model of your car and your driving style, various other factors also determine your fuel consumption: your speed, use of equipment, air resistance and the vehicle’s weight. Try to be conscious of these ‘gas guzzlers’.

Driving safely

Your personal safety is very important to Arval. It is our task to make sure your car is in optimum shape so that it is safe for you to take to the road. However, as a driver you also play an important role in this area. Arval recommends that you observe the following tips, to ensure that you have a safe journey and that the chances of a collision – with possible bodily injury as a result – are kept to a minimum.


Always wear your safety belt.
It may seem obvious that you need to wear a safety belt. However, a large number of drivers indicate that they regularly drive without a safety belt. Wearing a safety belt ensures that you stay in your chair in the event of a collision and limits the risk of yourbecoming injured.

Regularly check your tyre pressure
If your tyres are under-inflated, your car has less grip on the road. This results in an extended brake path and increased risk of skidding. Therefore, you should check your tyre pressure at least once a month. Furthermore, you save considerably on fuel if your car’s tyres have the correct pressure.

Keep enough distance
Maintain a safe following distance to the vehicle in front of you. This allows you to respond quickly to the manoeuvres of the car in front of you – when it suddenly brakes, for instance.

Avoid telephone conversations in your car
Nowadays, many cars are fitted with a car kit. However, making hands-free calls is not without its dangers either. When you talk on the phone you have less attention for the traffic around you. You should preferably have your telephone conversations at home or at work.

Adjust your driving style to the weather conditions
In the event of mist, heavy rain or other conditions that lead to minimal visibility, be sure to reduce your speed and double your following distance to the vehicle in front of you. Do not brake abruptly, but gradually reduce your speed. Keep to the right as much as possible. In the event of an emergency you can move onto the hard shoulder or the verge.

Don’t put any loose items on the rear shelf.
Many drivers use the rear shelf as a storage area for various items – an umbrella, an A-to-Z or a bottle of soft drink. If there is a collision or the driver needs to break suddenly, these seemingly harmless items can be propelled with such force that they can cause serious injuries.

Keep an eye on special signage
Signs located above or along the side of the road can call your attention to extraordinary conditions. Examples include a short slip road, the possibility to filter in turn or a local change to the speed limit. If you see such a sign, immediately anticipate the revised traffic situation.

Plan your itinerary
Determining your itinerary before you leave will prevent you from having to focus your attention on finding the right route. This means you will pay more attention to the traffic around you and you won’t have to make any unforeseen manoeuvres.

Make sure that you have an emergency hammer on board.
Most cars have electronically operated windows. These often jam if the car ends up in the water. This is why Arval recommends that you fit your vehicle with an emergency hammer. In emergencies, you can use this hammer to break the window and safely escape from your vehicle.

Reflecting safety jacket
In order to increase the safety, carrying a reflecting safety jacket is compulsory for a driver who leaves his broken-down vehicle or when he is involved in an accident. Because of this, the driver becomes better visible up to a distance of approximately 300 metres. The safety jacket is not compulsory for all passengers. After all, they are best protected when they position themselves at a certain distance behind the crash barrier. This compulsion was introduced as a rule of conduct, though it assumes that the use of the fluorescent vest forces you to carry one in your vehicle.

Driving in winter conditions

Every year, when winter sneaks up on us, everybody fears the bad weather and slippery roads. Yet, a few good reflexes may get you safely through the winter. Here are some tips to drive serenely through the winter:

Driving behaviour

At the wheel, double your vigilance in difficult conditions. Choose gentle manoeuvres over sudden movements.
When driving through curves, keep the steering wheel movements flexible and constant. If you are driving a front-wheel drive vehicle and the back of your vehicle slides, slowly accelerate to restore the balance. If your vehicle is rear-wheel drive, release the clutch, ease off the gas pedal and counter-steer. The golden rule: always look in the direction you want to go.
While braking, do not hesitate to use engine braking to avoid skidding. During skidding, you lose control of your vehicle; to restore the grip, release the brake pedal and brake again. Please note that a humid surface is two times more slippery than a dry one; a snow-covered surface will be four and a frozen surface eight times more slippery!
On the slopes, when the wheels start to spin, shift into higher gear. The front or rear wheel drive force will decrease, thus increasing the grip of your vehicle.

Tyres

Proper tyre inflation is predominant during cold weather. Indeed, the lower the temperature, the lower the measured pressure.  Therefore, during cold weather, always add 0.2 bar to the indicated pressure.
Winter tyres may prove very useful. For more information on this subject, visit the section dedicated to winter tyres on our website: http://www.arval.be/eng/lease/your-car/information/wintertyres/

Vehicle maintenance

The golden rule both in winter and in summer is high visibility so do not hesitate to regularly wash your vehicle. In addition, a dirty vehicle will be more susceptible to frost. Also be aware that salt for icy roads causes corrosion to your bodywork.
We also recommend to:
- use the windscreen wiper liquid suited for temperatures up to -30°C
- check the condition of your battery
- treat the rubber seals on your doors with an adequate grease to keep them from freezing.

The necessary equipment

Below are a few helpful tools during periods of extreme cold:
- an ice scraper
- a lock defrost spray
- one or more blankets in case of car failure.

Good to know

- Avoid using the handbrake in case of extreme cold as frost might paralyse it. Preferably shift into gear.
- Make sure your wipers are not frozen to your windshield before activating them as this might damage the wiper engine.
- Never put a newspaper on your windshield to avoid it from freezing overnight. The paper may become humid before it freezes and will stick to your windshield. A piece of cardboard should do the trick.

driving abroad

Going abroad

A trip abroad requires extra attention. Not only due to the long distances involved, but certainly also because each country has its own regulations. The most important thing is to be well prepared before departing.

Checklist 

Tyre pressure
A long drive ahead? Car heavily loeaded? In that case, check your tyre pressure beforehand. Thanks to this, you will drive more comfortably, more economicly and more safely. You will find the recommended tyre pressure in the instruction booklet of your car.

Oil level, windscreen wiper liquid and coolant
Before your departure, check the oil level and the level of your windscreen wiper liquid and coolant. Every 500 kilometers, check the oil and put an extra liter in your trunk.

Green Card
Please ensure that the country you are travelling to is listed on the green card inserted in your cars' booklet. Make sure that you are actually taking this card with you on your journey.

Traffic admission
When a driver wants to leave the European Union with his car or wants to enter the grounds of international harbours, stations and airports, he is to apply for a traffic admission certificate from Arval. The driver receives the certificate from Arval a few days later at no charge. A certificate corresponds with one limited journey (in terms of time). For every new journey a new certificate is to be drawn up.

It is important to realise that without the traffic admission certificate, the car could be confiscated by the authorities in charge.

If you are leaving for Germany, don't forget the 'Umweltsticker' or eco-vignette.

If you are leaving for France, check whether your Radar Warning Receiver System is legal.

Accessories that are obligatory

In a number of countries you must have an emergency triangle, a first-aid box and/or a safety vest. For tourists this obligation applies only in a number of cases. Here is an overview of the most popular holiday destinations:

 

 

 

fire extinguisher

warning triangle

first-aid kit

       

Germany

not compulsory

compulsory

compulsory

       

France

not compulsory

compulsory

not compulsory

       

Italy

not compulsory

compulsory

not compulsory

       

Luxembourg

not compulsory

not compulsory

not compulsory

       

Austria

not compulsory

compulsory

compulsory

       

Portugal

not compulsory

compulsory

not compulsory

       

Spain

not compulsory

compulsory

not compulsory

       

United Kingdom

not compulsory

compulsory

not compulsory

       

Switzerland

not compulsory

compulsory

not compulsory

       

Hold your horses ! 
 
Speeding is punishable in Belgium, just like it is in other European countries. Not all countries handle the same standards regarding speed limits, however. Here’s a summary table showing the speeds applicable in neighboring countries:

 km/h

 

 

In urban area

 On national raods

 On Highways

   

 Germany

50

100

130 

   

 France

50

90 or 110 

130 

   

 Italy

50

90 or 110

130

   

 Luxembourg

50

90

130

   

 Austria

50

100

130

   

 Portugal

50

90 or 100

130

   

 Spain

50

90 or 100

120

   

 United Kingdom

48

96 or 112

112

   

Winter tyres and skid chains 
 
Winter tyres

In general, in the alpine countries, winter tyres are NOT compulsory. However, it is compulsory to have skid chains in the car at all times, and to mount them as soon a this is indicated by a road sign.

Except Germany: Winter tyres are compulsory in case of snowy weather conditions only.
Therefore, winter tyres are compulsory in case of snowy weather conditions only. For that reason, you should check the weather forecasts before your departure and, if necessary, have winter tyres or all-season tyres mounted.

In Germany, you risk a penalty of EUR 20.00 when your tyres are not adapted. In case you hinder traffic, another EUR 40.00 is added on top of that. When involved in an accident, the use of unsuitable tyres could lead to a joint liability. The same applies whilst driving with tyres with an insufficient profile depth during rainy weather conditions.

Snow chains
In most countries the use of spiked tyres and snow chains are regulated and, in certain places, indicated by specific traffic signs.

Summary

Country

Winter tyres

Snow chains

Germany

Winter or “all season” tyres are highly recommended in case of snow.

Compulsory where indicated by an ad hoc road sign.

Austria

Compulsory from 1/11 to 15/4 on snowy or icy roads. Minimum tread of 4 mm for radial tyres and 5 mm for cross-ply tyres.

Between 1/11 and 15/4, they may replace winter tyres on roads completely covered in ice or snow. Compulsory where indicated by an ad hoc road sign. For any long journey made with summer tyres, it is compulsory to carry snow chains in the trunk.

Spain

Not compulsory

Compulsory where indicated by an ad hoc road sign.

France

Where indicated by an ad hoc road sign, with a panel stating “snow tyres permitted”, snow tyres may be used in place of chains.

Compulsory where indicated by an ad hoc road sign.

Italy

Compulsory in Val Aosta from 15/10 to 15/4. Alternative: snow chains in the trunk.

Compulsory where indicated by an ad hoc road sign. Alternative: snow tyres are also accepted.

Luxembourg

Compulsory since October 2012 in winter weather conditions (ice, snow, slush,...)

Never compulsory.

Czech Republic

Compulsory from 1/11 to 30/4 where indicated by road signs signalling “winter equipment compulsory”.

Compulsory where indicated by an ad hoc road sign.

Correct driving posture

Driving comfort is one of the key elements to road safety.  That’s why Arval provides some recommendations to enhance it.  These tips will show you how to properly adjust your car seat to optimise your driving comfort.

In a first step, to correctly adjust the settings, you sit down, fasten your seatbelt and adjust your seat in a driving position that suits you. Then, perform the following adjustments:

1.  Seat distance
-  Put your hands on the steering wheel. They should neither be stretched nor form an angle of 90°. When placing your fists in the middle of the steering wheel, your elbows should be slightly flexed.
-  Make sure you can push down the brake pedal completely without having to slide forward in your seat.
-  Make sure your knees don’t touch the dashboard. 
- You should be able to move your hands around the steering wheel without your elbows touching your thighs.

2.  Seat height 
-  Check that you can see the road up to the vehicle in front of you.
-  Check if the distance of a tight fist separates your head from the ceiling of your vehicle.

3.  Seat angle
- Check that the angle between your thigh and your body is larger than a straight angle.
-  When simulating the driving movements, you should not slide in your seat. Your lower back should make contact with the seat.  Should you slide, reduce the angle of your seat.

4. Backrest width 
- Make sure your back rests on the entire seat and is fully supported.
- Your back should not be squeezed between the side impact bars. This may be the case with certain "sport" edition seats.

5. Backrest height
-  For optimal support, the top of your backrest should reach just above your shoulders or higher.

6. Lumbar Support
- Check that the lumbar support matches the size of your back.

7.  Seat design
- Check that all parts of the seat offer sufficient support.
- Make sure you are properly seated in front of your steering wheel. Take a test: put your hands in the air and let them fall back on the steering wheel. If they are positioned in the middle of the steering wheel, you will have access to all major control functions.
- Likewise, extend your right leg toward the accelerator pedal. Your leg should not be inclined to tilt to the left or to the right.

8. Access to steering wheel controls
- Check that all steering wheel controls are easily accessible. Perform this operation with the door closed.

9.  Adjusting the headrest
- To prevent a whiplash injury in case of an accident, the headrest should be at a maximum distance of 7 cm from your head and should not be lower than 6 cm from the top of your head.