Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Five back-to-school driving tips

Georgia’s Clean Air Force (GCAF), part of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), offers five easy tips to help motorists encountering back-to-school traffic to save time and money.

The following tactics can also contribute to cleaner air.

  • G et your trunk cleared. Remove any unnecessary items from your trunk. The heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it consumes. Dropping 100 pounds from your car can increase your fuel economy from two to five percent. Don’t carry bulky items like sports equipment unless you need to. Remove the roof rack unless you plan on using it.
  • A lter your commute. High traffic areas become even more congested as the school year begins. Drivers can avoid getting stuck in traffic by altering their commute. Ask your boss if you can arrive for work later in the morning. Or, look into whether your company allows telecommuting.
  • A void idling. For parents waiting to pick up their children from school, it may seem convenient to keep the car running, but it is not. Not only does it waste gas, it is extremely harmful to the environment. For every 10 minutes of idling you cut from your commute, you can save one pound of harmful carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The general rule is to turn off your engine if you’ll be idling for more than 30 seconds.
  • I nitiate carpools. Consider setting up a back-to-school carpool with the parents of four other kids in your neighborhood. This way, you only have to make one trip to school a week, instead of five. You can save even more money by carpooling to work on the days that you don’t lead the kids’ carpool.
  • R ide the road less traveled. Research some additional routes to your workplace to avoid school traffic. Google Maps and MapQuest offer interactive mapping options to find alternate routes.

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