Why You Need to Avoid Drafting Just to Hypermile ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Why You Need to Avoid Drafting Just to Hypermile

Friday, June 08, 2007

Why You Need to Avoid Drafting Just to Hypermile

The ATA released a press release on why you should avoid drafting trucks just to up your fuel economy. As the guys from mythbusters tell you, this is just suicidal. I couldn't have said it any better than that.

Here's the press release from the people who would know how dangerous a practice this is:

The American Trucking Associations is urging automobile drivers to avoid the dangerous practice of tailgating heavy trucks in efforts to increase fuel economy. The nation's largest trucking industry trade group also is advising fleet safety directors to warn their drivers and owner-operators about the resurgence of this dangerous practice among automobile drivers, known as "drafting."

"Drafting" involves driving a car very close behind a truck to use the reduction of wind resistance to reduce the amount of energy needed to propel the auto.

"Few driving behaviors are more dangerous on our highways than drafting," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "Drivers who practice this unsafe behavior are often out of the field of vision of the truck driver and are unable to see around the truck. 'Drafting' is unsafe, illegal and significantly increases the chances of injury and death. This practice compromises the safety of everyone on the nation's highways and must not be considered a viable means of extending fuel mileage."

ATA recently learned that drafting is being promoted by two websites dedicated to "hypermiling" and several recent news articles have described the hazardous fad. Hypermiling is an invented term for achieving high fuel economy by several means, including dangerous ones such as driving partly on the right shoulder, over-inflating tires, coasting with the ignition off and "drafting" behind tractor-trailers. Unfortunately, a segment about drafting shown recently on the Discovery Channel show "Mythbusters" is bound to prompt some drivers to try this stunt, which the show's hosts called "suicidal." ATA is working to educate the public on safe following distances through its Share the Road safety program.

"While drivers everywhere are feeling pinched by the high price of gasoline, safety should never come at the expense of fuel efficiency," said John Hill, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator. "FMCSA works closely with states and industry to educate consumers about large truck safety, and to target passenger vehicles that drive dangerously around commercial vehicles - including extreme tailgating, called 'drafting.' 'Hypermilers,' and others who embrace such reckless tactics, must consider their safety and those with whom they share the road,
especially if a truck had to brake suddenly. These highly unsafe driving behaviors must be avoided by all motorists."

Stephen Campbell, Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said, "There are far too many crashes involving cars and trucks where following too closely is identified as a contributing factor. If motorists are 'drafting' the truck driver more than likely cannot see them. Enforcement officers are on the lookout for, and will take action on, these unsafe and dangerous driving behaviors by 4-wheelers around trucks."

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Anonymous said...

I have been doing it for years. It is a fnatastic way to save gas. In my many years of accident free driving I have learned that the only reason drafting is dangerous is because truck drivers are rude, wreckless, and break more traffic infractions than anyone.

Mike said...

I'd have to say you're making my point. You can't see what the trucker is thinking or reacting to and if you draft too close, you may not react in time to whatever it is he does. Then there's the increase in the likelihood of rocks getting spit up (or falling down off of or out of) by the truck.

Anonymous said...

Most if not all "newer" cars can both accelerate and brake alot faster than trucks, keep a close but moderate distance and don't stay right up the truck's a$$ and you will save gas. Follow signals and respect the truck and let other trucks in and out of traffic and it will work

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