Seven tips for driving an electric car safely

3 min to readSustainability
Pay close attention this Friday 16/09. On ‘Strapdag’ (strap day), many children walk or ride their bike to school, and they are less likely to hear a silent electric car coming.
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Electric driving is hot. Companies, but also more and more individuals, are finding their way to an electric car. Not only for the tax advantages, but also because of the feedback from other drivers. You'll never go back, once you go ... electric. Once you have driven it, you don't want anything else. But beware: compared to fossil fuel cars there are quite a few differences. To be safe on the road, keep these seven tips in mind:  

1. Electric cars: the sound of silence

Electric cars are quiet. According to users, this is one of the main advantages of driving them. It is also good for the environment with fewer emissions and less noise pollution. But the latter is also a disadvantage. Other road users can hardly hear you coming. So, pay extra attention in the vicinity of cyclists - especially schoolchildren, at crossings and traffic junctions, or in busy places in town.

You may want to consider sound tuning your car. Constructors are in the process of using sound design to make an electric vehicle more audible to its surroundings and to increase safety. 

2. 'Kick down': faster than a cannonball

With an electric car you no longer have to change gears, just like with an automatic gearbox. But unlike the automatic gearbox in an internal combustion engine, which changes gears in stages, an electric car goes directly to its maximum power when you press down the gas pedal. With a "kick down" you shoot like an arrow and you reach high(er) speeds right away. So, pay attention at traffic lights, when starting, because you're faster than you think. And you will also exceed the speed limit sooner. So, less ‘kick downs’ can avoid fines.

3. Help, I have lost the pedals

Anyone who switches from a manual to an automatic gearbox will recognize this. Suddenly you only use two pedals instead of three, because there is no clutch. The same goes for an electric car. You only have the gas pedal and the brake. But pushing the brakes with your left leg as if you were pressing the clutch, will result an abrupt stop. With potentially catastrophic consequences for the car behind who notices this too late. So, pay close attention and keep your left leg well away from the pedals.

4. The car brakes itself anyway, doesn’t it?

When you remove your foot from the gas pedal in an electric car, it automatically brakes to recuperate energy. Frequent EV drivers even claim to barely use the brake pedal. Yet you cannot assume that this braking power is sufficient. So, stay alert and keep your foot ready to brake quickly. 

5. Easy rider

Driving an electric car is more relaxing. You don't have to change gears, it barely makes a sound, you don't hear the engine roar, you can enjoy the scenery, etc. There is a danger that you become too relaxed and no longer pay attention to traffic. So, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. But this applies to every moment and every means of transport you use in traffic.

6. Do not rely on automatic features

Electric cars, especially in the premium segment, are equipped with all kinds of new features and gadgets. Some features already take a step towards autonomous driving. Just think of cameras that recognize speed signs and automatically adjust your speed. However, it is best not to trust them completely, because - especially with road works - a traffic sign may have been moved or a truck may be driving just in front of it. It is better to stay in control. Which is also required by law.

7. A heavyweight

Partly because of the batteries, electric cars are generally heavier than regular cars. This plays a role in road handling but also, for example, in braking. Keep in mind that, despite adapted brakes, your braking distance may be longer. Especially on a slippery wet road surface.

Published at September 16, 2021

September 16, 2021
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