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Putting brakes on car travel is not a bad thing

Claire McNeilly's article (News, March 16) highlights the fact that rising fuel prices are pricing drivers off the road. We should pause to ask ourselves if this is a bad thing.

As we have moved as a society to using the car as our default mode of travel, this correlates with greater levels of inactivity and the shocking rise in obesity and obesity-related illnesses. We should use the rise in fuel prices as an opportunity to stop and consider the proper place for the car in our society.

One of the easiest areas to reduce car use is escorting children to school. I have walked my daughter to school since she was four years old. Not only has her fitness steadily improved, but it is a daily opportunity for us to chat and share stories.

Another key area is the commute to work. Employees with a commute around the seven-mile average journey distance could consider cycling. Where cycling or public transport is not feasible, consider car-sharing.

There will be some journeys where the car is the only option. But it is still possible to save money by changing driving style. Maintaining a steady speed and keeping to speed limits tends to use less fuel.

As oil is a finite resource, fuel prices will inevitably keep rising, but we don't have to feel helpless.

MICHAEL DAVIS

Holywood, Co Down

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