This term is not an often-used expression and one that
usually brings about a puzzled expression. What does it mean?
Vehicle sympathy is a natural by-product that comes if you incorporate all the points discussed in the section What makes a Good Driver. Everyone of these points accumulate to driving with the well being not only of yourself and other road users but also your mode of transport.
It’s a simple case of the old saying “look after it and it will look after you”.
The smoother you are able to drive can make the world of difference to the condition of the vehicle you drive, be it car, bike or whatever. I know that it is a very tiny example that I have given you but the wear and tear you put on the car by how you drive can have a vast impact on how long parts last and how much a car costs you to maintain.
I’ll give you a very basic example of what I mean. I feel this very simple situation clarify the point well. A good driver is easy to spot when you notice how different two different drivers approach the same situation.
You are approaching a set of lights in a built up area that have already turned too red. Two hundred yards further up the road is another set of lights. As the first set go back to green the next set then begin to turn back to red. It is inevitable that the driver will not make it through the second set of lights. In between the two sets of lights there is also a traffic calming speed hump.
Now Roger Rushmore sees the first set of lights turn green and he’s off. Accelerating hard, revving his engine high and within a few seconds the brake lights come on and the front end nosedives down as he quickly approaches the red light and the white line. All this has happened plus he’s crunched his car on the speed hump and gouged a chunk out of it.
Fred Thinkaboutit on the other hand has been waiting at the same traffic light and has been observing what happens up ahead. He knows he’s going to have to stop again at the next set of lights. The first light goes green and he pulls away and smoothly makes his way through the gears and as he gets nearer to the traffic lights he has already taken his foot off the accelerator and gently started breaking. Coming to a halt at the second set of lights he also treat the speed hump like it should be treat and managed to go over it with no ill effect at all.
Yes Mr Rushmore will have got from the first to the second set of lights a few seconds quicker but he still had to stop. And at the same time he has used more petrol, polluted the atmosphere more because he didn’t bother changing gear, he also had to use his breaks more in order to reduce his speed and then the strain on the car as all the weight was thrown onto the front end of the chassis is he brought the car to a halt. He also put more strain on the shock absorbers and steering rack as he bounced over the speed hump and not only that think about the passengers perspective! Let me make it clear though. Fred Thinkaboutit is not crawling along with a queue of traffic, he is making normal progress and at the speed limit if allowed.
A little exercise you may be able to do which can lead to some interesting findings is if your car displays the current miles per gallon figure at any time. Put two different drivers in the car and go out doing the same type of driving and look at the display after a few miles. The driver who has made the effort and who has all the attributes discussed in Section 1 will get far more to the gallon than the type who drive in the manner I have just been describing. In the extreme it can be as much as double. Not to be ignored in view of the amount a gallon of petrol now costs! It is certainly something else to think about, as well as been a good challenge for you to try to improve upon. Go on give it a go!
Ultimately your driving will affect the condition of the car, which will also determine how long the car will last and how much you get for it when you come to sell it. Brake pads, tyres, fuel, oil, gearboxes, suspension, steering, clutches etc can all have dramatically varying longevity, depending on how the vehicle is driven. Make no mistake nowadays that anything that needs replacing can be a small fortune. In many cases this type of expense could so easily have been avoided.
Remember to treat your vehicle well and it will do the same for you.