As the recent owner of a new Hybrid I’ve noticed a few things, learned a few things, but am keenly aware of certain driver behaviors, things I’m guilty of as a regular driver but will try to be more conscious of in the future.
Too many people have the “I’m the only person on the face of the earth” syndrome, which is the mentality that they can do whatever they like no matter how it affects other people. When it comes to drivers of hybrid cars, they are the worst. So as the driver of a hybrid I try not to be “that guy”.
The reasons for people buying a hybrid are probably fairly similar, mostly focusing on getting good mileage. Some small percentage will be trying to decrease their carbon footprint or other “green” thinking. I was accused of being a tree hugging environmentalist Nazi when I announced that I purchased a hybrid. Well… I am not particularly a tree hugger, and I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon and Washington, so I’ve lived in places that are full of hard core environmental crazies, but that is not me. That’s not to say that I’m on a collision course with destroying the planet we live on either.
My main reason for buying the hybrid… is mileage, plain and simple. The lower emissions and low carbon footprint are just gravy baby. So if owning and driving a hybrid makes me a tree hugger… so be it!
So without any further delay, my short list of things to take into consideration for hybrid drivers.
DO, drive your hybrid with the goal of getting the best mileage you ever thought possible and you will most likely be rewarded with crazy high mileage figures. My first tank blew me away… 55.5mpg!
DON’T drive your hybrid at the expense of other drivers around you! In this crazy world, too many people are in too big a hurry for their own good. What do I mean by don’t drive your hybrid at the expense of other drivers? Well… don’t accelerate at such a mind numbingly slow rate that drivers behind you become enraged and feel it would be easier (and possibly funner) to run you over, or off the road in an effort to get around you. From a stop, do your best to accelerate at a steady rate until you reach the speed limit, do so fast enough that you reach the speed limit in a reasonable amount of time and other drivers around you will not even notice you’re driving a hybrid.
DO, when nobody is behind you, accelerate as slow as you like, run it in pure electric mode if your car can, just be conscious of others around you, this is the single most important thing that will make your drive more enjoyable and stress free.
DO, use the RIGHT HAND LANE on the freeway!!! When I’m forced to use the freeway, I stay in the right hand lane and set the cruise control to about 2mph above the limit. I rarely have to pass anybody but doing the speed limit is a must. Don’t be the guy doing 5mph under the limit during rush hour. Some drivers may glare at you for only doing the limit, but at least you ARE doing the limit, and if they want to go faster, well… they can go around you. If you’re not doing the limit you’re creating a hazard and quite honestly you could cause an accident as impatient drivers freak out and do stupid things to get around you.
DON’T use the left hand lane unless you’re keeping pace with the other traffic in that lane. Just because the left lane exists well… see the part on not driving at the expense of other drivers. If you must use the left lane to pass slower traffic in the right lane, speed up enough to merge over without cutting other drivers off or causing them to slam on their brakes to avoid rear ending you. Get around the slower traffic and then move back over to the right lane.
That’s about it, I may expand on this list later or change the format into an actual list, but you get the gist. I drive my hybrid with the intent of maximizing my mileage potential, just not at the expense of other drivers and generally I don’t get any flack from other drivers, and I’ve seen road rage directed at drivers of certain hybrids before, not pretty.