Five ways to reduce noise pollution from your car
A quiet drive helps the environment and gives you and your passengers a better time on the roads too.
Whether you’re new to driving or you’ve just bought another car, keeping things quiet is also one of your main responsibilities behind the wheel.
If your car is too noisy, you could even be reported for creating vehicle nuisance, which is something that the police take extremely seriously. Even if you’re not taking part in street racing or performing noisy tricks, unknown mechanical issues can make your car sound much louder to passersby and residents.
No matter the age or condition of your car, it’s always worth knowing how to keep the noise to a minimum while you’re getting from A to B.
Why is reducing traffic noise pollution in the UK so important?
Traffic noise pollution has a profoundly negative effect on natural environments and local communities. Along with the harm they cause to delicate ecosystems and the wildlife within them, traffic noise is unpleasant and burdensome for people living in polluted areas.
According to a recent study by the UK Health Security Agency, at least 40% of all adults in England have been exposed to long-term road traffic noise at levels exceeding 50 decibels on average. In addition to general annoyance and sleep disturbance, repeated exposure to road noise has been linked to an increased risk of health conditions like stroke, depression, and anxiety.
For the health of the public and the safety of those travelling in cars, we should all work towards lower noise pollution levels.
Five simple ways to reduce noise pollution
#1 - Choose quieter tyres
All tyres sold in the EU and UK are supplied with noise ratings. The UK government sets limits on the noise levels a set of tyres can produce, so all models must comply. Some tyres are still louder than others, though, so it’s a good idea to choose those that fit into a lower noise category.
All tyres normally make a gentle humming sound. Several factors can contribute to a louder experience though: these include aggressive driving styles, tyre damage, uneven tread wear, and unbalanced tread depths and patterns.
It’s still important to choose a tyre that suits your driving style and budget, though. If you’re looking for an all-rounder, Yokohama tyres suit any car and can be used through all four seasons, making them a solid mid-range contender.
#2 - Maintain your car
Looking after your car could help deliver a quieter driving experience. Excess dirt and debris can create noise at speed. Additionally, regular tyre checks naturally ensure that your tyre pressure and tread depth remain at safe and quiet levels for every drive.
#3 - Use soundproofing materials
Did you know that the way you furnish your car could lead to a quieter experience behind the wheel? If you’ve noticed that your car seems unexpectedly louder, it’s certainly worth identifying which interior and exterior materials are creating the noise.
You could upgrade the insulation and soft furnishings, opting for noise-absorbing materials and soundproofing options where possible. Modifications to the vehicle itself like quieter exhausts could help, but you need to make sure that any changes you make are safe and legal.
#4 - Drive as smoothly as possible
The way you drive your car will influence the noise levels and its environmental impact too. If you’re driving an older car with a typically noisy engine like a large, turbocharged diesel, it’s more likely to be noisier than other models to start with.
It’s worth getting familiar with the quietest cars on the market. If possible, choosing an electric vehicle will guarantee smoother, quieter driving inside and outside the cabin.
#5 - Plan your routes and travel times carefully
Lastly, getting organised before you drive could help you to reduce your noise pollution output. Try to avoid congested and typically busy routes, especially at peak periods or during the usual rush hour. And when you can, try to use public transport or commute on your bike instead!