15 great reasons to ditch the car for the day

We’ve partnered with Vitality Car Insurance to help us all become better drivers. So, here’s why leaving the car at home every so often is a healthy thing to do...

Car side profile

It may seem strange for What Car? to be telling you to leave your car at home. But, when it comes to reducing our impact on the world around us and living a healthier lifestyle, looking beyond your car is sometimes the right thing to do. That’s why it's worth taking a step back and celebrating life away from the wheel every once in a while.

Thinking differently about how we drive is one of the many reasons why What Car? has joined forces with car insurance partner Vitality. Taking lessons learned from health insurance, Vitality is offering a new kind of car insurance that actually rewards good driving via the Vitality Good Driving sensor - a device that recognises and rates your driving. After all, when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle, making lots of little easy-to-action changes quickly adds up to make a big difference. It’s the same with driving.

As well as encouraging us to drive safer, Vitality is also helping us rethink how we use our cars – whether driving more efficiently to reduce our impact on the environment, or swapping the car for options that get us more active and have a positive impact on our local area. Depending on how well you drive, Vitality will offset up to 100% of your daily carbon emissions. Crucially, it will also reward you six points a day for car-free days. Accumulate enough points and you’ll be eligible for great weekly rewards, such as a handcrafted drink from Caffe Nero or on-demand movie rentals from Rakuten TV.

So, here are all the reasons why it makes real sense to go car-free.

Learn more at vitality.co.uk/car-insurance

1 | It’s healthier for you: A recent study suggests that people who frequently use public transport accumulate significantly more moderate and intense physical daily activity than those who travel by car, thus resulting in a healthier lifestyle.[1] So, by ditching the motor and choosing to walk or cycle instead – whether it’s for the daily commute, or a trip to nearby shops – it all adds up to help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

2 | It’s healthier for your kids: A generation ago, 70% of British children walked to school. Now, less than half do, despite studies showing that children who walk or bike to school tend to be more focused and are less likely to be overweight[2]. The school run is also a chance for you to get some exercise. So, join the kids and walk to and from school, rather than taking them by car. It’s a great way to spend time together, rather than battling traffic, and you’ll all be healthier for it.

Walking kids to school

3 | You can extend and enhance gym workouts: Get more out of your workouts by walking, cycling, jogging or running to the gym. You’ll arrive warmed up and raring to go, helping you make the most out of every session.

4 | Be healthier (and save money) by swapping four wheels for two: A study by Harvard University suggests biking at a moderate speed for 30 mins a day could burn upwards of 200 calories[3]. Many employers offer bike-to-work schemes, which let you save at least 32% on the purchase of a new bike and equipment. So, as well as earning Vitality points for leaving the car at home, and burning more calories, you can also get a better bike for less.

Man on bike

5 | Ditching the car can reduce stress: A 2018 report claims that nearly half (43%) of UK drivers have been victims of road rage. Not only is road rage dangerous, but it can cause huge amounts of stress. By leaving the car behind, you can enjoy your commute, trip to the shops, or school run without worrying about traffic jams, parking or navigation issues.

6 | Go public to lower your CO2: Globally, transport accounts for around a quarter of CO2 emissions[2]. By swapping from your car to public transport, you can help reduce your impact on the environment. For example, a local bus emits just over half the greenhouse gases of a single occupancy car journey, while a train is as little as 20%[2].

Family on bus

7 | Help your community breathe better: With around 60% of local 1-2 mile journeys in the UK made by car[2], by walking, cycling or taking the bus instead, you’ll reduce the NO2 in your area and you and your community will breathe better.

8 | Learn more about your area and support local businesses: When you drive, you’re limited to the sights along main roads and at your start point and destination. By ditching the car, you can find the charming hidden secrets of your village, town, or city. Walk or cycle and you might find quaint coffee shops, oddball local stores and interesting sights.

Man in coffee shop

9 | Expand your horizons or be more productive: When driving, you’re limited to listening to music, podcasts or the radio. Even hands-free Bluetooth phone calls can be a distraction. Take the bus or train and you can catch up with emails, read a book, call friends, do personal admin, play a game, or you can even catch a healthy 40 winks.

10 | Spend better-quality time with family and friends: Car journeys can be good fun, but getting on a train can be even better. Whether you’re on a family day out or off for a city break with friends, getting round a table to play games, have a face-to-face chat, grab some food or just have a laugh is a great way to spend quality time with the people that matter to you.

Friends on train

11 | Enjoy your night out that little bit more: You should never drink and drive; so how about taking the driving out the equation? Without your car you can have a much more relaxed and stress-free night out with friends or family.

12 | Get to know your colleagues by carpooling: By commuting with colleagues, you can each take turns to earn points on your respective Vitality car insurance and create stronger bonds outside of work.

13 | Cut your weekly fuel bills: To run an average petrol car for 10,000 miles per year while achieving roughly 40mpg would use cost around £1,500 in fuel[4]. If you were to cut your weekly mileage by just 42 miles (six miles less a day), you could save over £350 a year. So, it’s clear that every time you ditch the car, the savings soon add up.

Woman walking

14 | Less wear and tear on your car: Naturally, less mileage means less wear and tear on your car – especially for the most common consumables, such as tyres and brakes. This means that the annual service should be cheaper. Equally, lower mileage cars attract significantly better resale value – money you can put towards your next vehicle

15 | Lower insurance costs: Fewer miles and no business use tends to result in lower insurance premiums. Also, by driving less, your risk of an accident reduces massively, whether through another driver or an unexpected hazard. Drive less, save money.

So, there we have 15 reasons to leave your car at home more often – helping you to improve your health, reduce harmful emissions, save money and, importantly, earn points through your Vitality car insurance, which gets you rewarded with partners.

Learn more at vitality.co.uk/car-insurance

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407915/

[2] https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200317-climate-change-cut-carbon-emissions-from-your-commute

[3] https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/getting-back-on-the-bike

[4] https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/costs/fuel-cost-calculator/?