There’s not much better than getting behind the wheel, buckling up, and going for a long drive on a warm summer’s afternoon, is there? It’s at moments like that when we understand just how lucky we are to have a car — and the ability to operate it — in our lives. Alas, those precious moments are just one aspect of the driving experience. The other side is a little bit more annoying: there’s the traffic jams, the annoying habits of other drivers, and, yes, the cost. Like it or not, driving is not cheap. There are, however, ways to influence how much it costs. Below, we take a look at a few tried and tested ways to keep the costs of driving to a minimum.

Learn How to Drive

A lot of people are essentially burning cash when they’re driving, and they don’t even realize it. If you have an aggressive driving style (which means accelerating and braking too harshly), then you’re probably visiting the gas station more frequently than you should do. To ensure more time between trips, look at improving your miles per gallon rate. Driving is expensive enough without unnecessarily burning more gas than is needed!

Be Incredibly Cautious

This is definitely not an understatement! If you think you’re cautious now, it’s going to help to be even more cautious. Having to hire accident lawyers, towing, and mechanic fees are all going to be incredibly expensive, so you’re better off just being really careful when behind the wheel. While yes, it’s entirely true that you have zero control over other drivers, you can at least be the careful one. On top of that, maybe getting a dash cam could help a lot, too.

Shop Around

Sure, there will always be a cost associated with driving, but how much you end up spending is in your control, at least a little bit. If you’re always taking the first price that you see, then you’re probably overpaying. Take your insurance, for example: don’t just let it auto-renew every year: shop around and see if there’s a better deal available. You can take this approach with all aspects of your car, even — there are apps that tell where the nearest gas is, for instance. And don’t forget to haggle when you’re buying a new car!

Get What’s Rightfully Yours

You’ve got a long list of expenses related to your vehicle; you shouldn’t pay the bills of other people too! Yet that’s just what many people do. If you’re involved in an incident on the roads, and it wasn’t your fault, then don’t just assume the costs of repairing your vehicle and any medical bills you may have. Work with a firm such as Hasbrook & Hasbrook, and fight for the compensation that you deserve. Additionally, if you’re always giving rides to other people, then it’s fair to ask them to contribute towards the cost of gas. You’re not a free taxi service.

Preventative Maintenance

There’ll come a point when you need to splash the cash and invest in a new vehicle, but when that will be is in your control a little. If you stay on top of your car’s maintenance, then it’ll last longer, and you’ll also help to reduce the likelihood of encountering bigger, more expensive problems further down the line. Also, keep in mind that part of making your car last longer — and reducing costs — is to leave your vehicle at home from time to time. You don’t always need to drive; use other options instead.