Hypermiling, the sport of maximizing gas mileage, has become a popular pastime for some money-sensitive American drivers. While some techniques are good ideas for cutting back expenses at the pump, others are dangerous and illegal.
One idea that has risen in popularity with more hybrids hitting the road is known as engine-off coasting. Some drivers have been coasting with their engines off before the advent of hybrid technology, but more recent innovations in electric technology has brought this behavior to the forefront of hypermiling tactics.
In hybrid cars, the computer in the vehicle may deem it safe to turn off the engine and preserve fuel efficiency. However, this coasting is carefully monitored by an automatic system. The car will automatically turn the engine back on when the driver needs it, removing the danger of engine-off coasting while retaining the benefits.
When a driver attempts to mirror the results of a computer-monitored system, the results can be catastrophic. Turning off a car’s engine and allowing it to coast also shuts off power steering and power brakes. In case an emergency develops, the driver would have to either immediately attempt to turn their vehicle back on, which does not give them much time to avoid an accident, or attempt to maneuver the vehicle without power controls.
As for fuel efficiency, coasting does more damage to the car’s systems than it manages to save in gasoline. Many systems within a vehicle require the power of the engine to properly run, including lubrication systems that maintain the vehicle’s functionality. In addition to potentially degrading the starter, lubrication, and related systems, this kind of coasting is illegal in some states, meaning that a ticket may be issued.
There are legal defenses for drivers who are injured by reckless habits or behaviors such as engine-off coasting. To learn about these legal options, contact a Car Accident Attorney Philadelphia.