Discussion in 'Start Your Journey Here' started by BackOffMyTruck, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. BackOffMyTruck

    BackOffMyTruck generic non-offensive saying

    New member here. I want to improve my MPG on my personal vehicle An Isuzu trooper 4x4 (nope, not giving up my SUV) and on my work truck as well. Some of the techniques you list here are what smart professional drivers have been doing for years, Like strict vehicle upkeep and timing the lights. I'm looking for other ideas too.
    I'm also here because I'm concerned about certain hypermiling techniques that are annoying at best and dangerous at worst
  2. laurieaw

    laurieaw Sorceress of the North

    welcome. glad to see you are trying to improve your FE, no matter what you drive.

    can you fill us in about the techniques that concern you? perhaps we can help clear up any problems you might have with them.
  3. BackOffMyTruck

    BackOffMyTruck generic non-offensive saying

    On the topic of drafting I have to speak up and ask you to pull down the picture of and reference to "surf drafting" as well. at least 3 times a week some road problem develops that calls for a quick lane change. I hit the signal, check my mirror, and there's somebody hanging our right off the back corner of my trailer.
    My truck gets 6.5 MPG on a good day. I don't want to brake unnecessary either. What ends up happening is I ease the throttle to get my "shadow" to pass so I have a clear piece of road to change lanes, but the nit-wit is surf drafting so he slows down too. In the end I have to hit the brakes, throwing away all that hard won momentum.
    If you hyper-miler types want to use distant drafting I won't fuss, But hanging out right off my back corner one lane over in unacceptable. It blocks the passing lane and robs the drivers of large vehicles of options in an emergency. Surf drafting is not quite as dangerous as close in drafting, but it is every bit as rude, annoying, and troublesome.
    Another thing to factor into the question of surf drafting in tire failure. a 22.5 inch truck tire inflated to 105 psi is a LOT of stored energy. Truck tire repair shops inflate those tires in a steel cage because the energy released when a tire fails can be lethal. A tire also tends to pitch large very heave chunks of rubber at high speeds. People have been killed by tires.
    I work very hard at operating safely. I recently won a safety award for 500,000 safe, accident free miles. I'll try very hard not to hurt you out on the highway, but when you insist on remaining so close you may exceed my ability to save you from your own foolishness.
  4. donee

    donee Well-Known Member

    Hi Back....,

    Most serious hypermilers do not draft trucks. The trucks typically go allot faster, and vary in speed much more than what a hypermiler wants. Clean air, and 53 mph is ideal for a Prius using Super Highway Mode, or SHM, which takes a few seconds to setup with the gas pedal. This results in 60 to 80 mpg sumertime mileage, depending on conditions. Which is far and a way better mileage than drafting even a semi trailer at 60 mph will yield. Bow waves off of trucks creates a side wind which increases the drag on the car, as the aerodynamics are tuned for straight on air flow. And makes it more difficult to hold SHM. So, even next to a truck is bad for best mileage.

    Besides its unsafe to tailgate (er draft). Most of us have trouble with trucks drafting (er tailgating) us. Not the other way round. Box truck drivers seem to be worse offenders around here.

    There is a comon media technique to tell the big lie, that everybody will believe, as its so outrageous, the first thought is the opposite just could not be true, when it is. I think you have been snookered by this technique. In the real world, hypermilers get tailgated. So the media turned that into, the only way these guys can get the results they do, is to draft. Which is the opposite of reality.

    The implication is that drafting steals the lead vehicles mileage, but being sneeky SOB's the media does not mention this falsehood. Close drafting has been demonstrated to improve the lead vehicles mileage. Why else do birds, fighter aircraft wings, bicylce racers all move in formation ? I had a ninja bike rider close draft me once. My FE meter in the Prius went up 2 mpg! I just left the thing in cruise control. Because, I knew if my car changed just a little bit, he would have touched my rear bummer - being 6 inches off of it.

    The real problem is that its just damn dangerous thing to do.

    I also see your hauling a flat bed. Which will greatly decrease the mileage of following vehicles. The wind off the back of the cab creates tumbling air, which smacks into the upper half of any following vehicle, along with all the turbulence off the wheels. A full sized trailer has a downwash which blends into the back side of the following vehichle, and pushes the following vehichle along.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
  5. donee

    donee Well-Known Member

    Hi Back...,

    Surf drafting does not work beside a full sized trailer. Only one or two car lengths behind the trailer. The side of the trailer is full of tumbling air, and that creates sidways winds, which cause extra drag. There are advantages in a front quartering wind-shadow situation, but again, one needs to be behind the semi-trailer.

    Its really quite noticable with a following wind from the faster lane direction. When a semi comes along side in the faster lane, its like somebody grabbed the back of my Prius, and started pulling on it quite hard. It creates a wind shaddow, and the relative speed of air over the car increases. I usually lift throttle and get the truck past as quick as possible. A Prius driver, driving for mileage, is not going to camp out beside a tractor-trailer, because he can see he is loosing 10 to 20 mpg on his in-dash fuel economy display.

    On the side of a a flat bed, these guys are not getting any advantage at all. They are just there because they are either ill-informed, or spacing out.

    What I do when conditions put me beside a truck that wants to pull into my lane is to slow down, and once clear, flash the head lights once, and only once. This holds back traffic for the truck, and traffic usually wont give the hypermiler crap about slowing down, which is what we want to do anyway. And there is the added benefit of a momentary draft as you fall well behind the truck.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
  6. donee

    donee Well-Known Member

    Hi Back,

    Oh, are you talking about cars in the passing lane? That is left of the middle lane? You wont find hypermilers there. They are in the far right lane always. Not everybody driving a Prius is out there to max the car's fuel economy performance.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi BackOffMyTruck:

    ___We have a 7.5 mpg Tractor Trailer driver here (KngKeith) and he is one of the best I have seen. I was extremely fortunate to ride with on a run to Chicago late last year and learned quite a bit. What we all see on the road most of the time however is 10 + over and a lot of drafting and tailgating by your fellow drivers :(

    WTF is this Big-rig driver doing in the far left lane let alone up an Insight’s @$$ :(

    Typical in Chicago. Unfortunately, the 18-wheeler that passed me moments before at 5 to 10 over the
    limit is drafting a sedan directly in front of him. Let alone everybody else doing the same :(

    This guy was fun for over 2 miles while the other (2) lanes were empty out on I-55 Northbound in Chicago.

    Small SUV with passenger using the dash as a footrest. And way to close on a lightly trafficked section of I-94 between Milwaukee and Madison IIRC.

    I-294 in Chicago… Yeah, 3 lanes and this guy wants to play proctologist with me while following the speed limits.

    ___This is the daily experience and although one in a hundred do follow the speed limits and create buffers in heavy traffic, 99 of 100 do not :( I suspect you are the 1 in 100 and thank you for it.

    ___Sorry but Hypermilers are the safest drivers on the road vs. the crap the big rigs pull on a daily basis. They are very fortunate they are the largest things on the road with limited acceleration rates or there would be far more problems.


    ___WRT surf draft, maybe you do not understand where the vehicles are in relation to your own given they are not in your No-Zone. Unfortunately, if you are in the center lane, you are passing us but the surf and traffic side last a long time as the big-rigs continue on their speeding ways.

    ___Finally wrt safety and to help us all, what I hope you do is start railing on your fellow drivers that are even 1 mph over the limit. Our country cannot afford to throw fuel away like we once used to and your industry in particular is reeling because of it. I see an easy 15% improvement by simply slowing down within the limits but have yet to see it yet. I do see the UPS and WalMart drivers (some) traveling the std. speed limits in Chicago early in the morning (pre-05:00 AM) but they are 5 to 10 over in the construction zones. I understand about the 45 mph limits harming most of the rigs FE vs. 55 to 57 mph so I let them slide on that account…

    ___Sorry to come off as hostile in your introduction but you said Hypermiling techniques were dangerous which is far from the case. Especially considering some drivers in your industry are by far some of the most unsafe drivers out there due to the blatant speeding :ccry:

    ___Good Luck

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
  8. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    Great to have another trucker on here, welcome!!

    Almost ALL trucks pass me, and I get just a momentary surf draft as they go by. If a truck moving only a bit faster than me moves over a lane to get by, I'll slow down a tad to help him past, and flash him back into the lane as soon as I see the rear of his trailer.

    I DO get annoyed when a semi closes within 10' behind me or anybody else. I saw one do it to an Odyssey Honda minivan the other day: therre could have been kids in the van!!

    Maybe many of the people you think are hypermiling are just driving badly? There's a lot of that around......
  9. BackOffMyTruck

    BackOffMyTruck generic non-offensive saying

    Thanks so much for the courtesy Lightfoot. There's precious little of that in the world these days.
    I'm sure some of the offenders I'm talking about are just driving very badly, but there's been a noticable upsurge in that kind of behaviour since fuel prices have risen so high.
    As for the guys who come roaring up and close to within 10 feet of you, they are unprofessional clods who should be tossed out of my profession so they quit giving the rest of us a bad name. In a 100 mile trip you will probably interact with well over 75 trucks on any well traveled road. You never really notice the 73 that are being compitently and professionally operated, but the 2 complete morons will linger in your memory for weeks. :(
    I wish there was a solution for that problem
  10. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    That is my perennial complaint as well. And, in the very last 750 mile long trip I made, I honestly lost count how may semis and smaller transports tailgated me at highway speeds ... sometimes riding my bumper for several minutes at a time. :(


    Hypermilers are undoubtedly the safest drivers on the road. I suggest you look for "other types of drivers" as the chronic and unrelenting source of such tailgating behavior.


  11. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    Oh but I DO notice the well-driven semis and silently thank every single one of them. Too bad there isn't some way of expressing appreciation.
  12. BackOffMyTruck

    BackOffMyTruck generic non-offensive saying

    Hi Wayne,
    You have done a fine job of documenting the misbevaviour of some of the worst slobs in my industry. If I posted a dozen or so pictures of horrible medical mishaps you could NOT fairly draw the conclusion that doctors as a group are bad at their jobs, only that SOME doctors are bad at their jobs.
    You have stated that professional drivers are the very worst drivers on the road. I'd suggest that you do a little fact checking. The NTSB always has good figures. It's been several years since I looked up the stats, but last I looked the trucking industry as a whole is experiancing around 3 reportable accidents per million miles traveled. IIRC a '05 NTSB study showed that of all reportable highway accidents 85% DID NOT involve a class 7 or 8 commercial truck. Of the accidents that DID involve a class 7 or 8 truck 75% were found NOT to be the fault of the professional driver.
    Yes, there are some real clods out there driving trucks, but the VAST majority of us are compitent and careful professionals
    Now, on the topic of the "No Zone," that ad campaign was not as well thought out as it should have been because it suggests that one lane over in either direction is a safe place to be. This is not true. I'd refer you to my comments on tire failure in the original post.
    The posted picture of "Surf Drafting" on CleanMPG.com seems to suggest that it's an ok thing to do. It is not. The article I read only seemed to condemn close drafting. Yes, a surf drafting car is not in the No Zone and I CAN see him there, but he is not allowing me sufficiant room to safely change lanes if I need to.
    As for blatant speeding, the vast majority of trucks on the road are fleet trucks with electronic speed limiters installed. My truck is speed limited at 65 MPH with a program installed on the engine computer that will reduce my maximum road speed to 55 MPH if it consistantly detects fuel wasting habits like jackrabbit starts, improper shifting techniques, and excessive idle. The trucks you are complaining about are NOT fleet trucks, they are privatly owned and operated trucks. The worst of those guys are rapidly going out of business because their wasteful habits are bankrupting them. For more information I'd refer you to the current issue of "Truckers News" and an article called "The Repo Man Cometh."
    Now, as for the far left hand lane. I dearly wish that Chicago would see the light and allow trucks in the far left lane of the express lanes. The biggest nightmare in big cities is working through all the merging traffic. Remember I can't speed up and slow down as quickly as you can. People darting in and hitting the brakes to exit or failing to accelerate to merge properly make for hair rasing times. Trucks, especially trucks transiting through town not exiting SHOULD be in the far left hand lane to get them away from the traffic conflicts of merging city traffic.
    Finally, on the topic of tailgating trucks. There's no excuse for it. The guys, and a few gals who do that represent the very worse of our profession. They should have their license pulled and be barred from operating anything bigger than a Vespa scooter. If you want to see an end to that sort of behavior start taking pictures and sending them to the trucking companies. Be sure to get the unit ID numbers off the truck in the pics. Send them to the safety departments of the company the truck is operating for. Owner operaters will see theor leases terminated and company drivers will be fired. Rear end collisions are among the most costly accidents for companies and they take it seriously

  13. Ophbalance

    Ophbalance Administrator Staff Member

    Hmm... I must not be passed by very many fleet trucks in my 80 miles up on I40 during the week days. Most of them do 70, and very few actually run at the posted 65 MPH limit when it drops down. Even when I drive the posted limits, I'm passed by every single truck that I encounter. Maybe it's just an east coast corridor thing going on?
  14. BackOffMyTruck

    BackOffMyTruck generic non-offensive saying

    The 5 biggest carriers in the van business, J.B. Hunt, Schneider, Swift, Covenant, and the Atchley companies, (running under a whole family of names) all speed limit their trucks. Each of those companies operates around 10,000 tractors, but each of them also has owner-operator divisions. In the Flatbed business the biggest, and my employer runs around 1200 tractors, all of them speed limited, but we also have owner-operators who do as they please. Our closest 3 competitors are running close to 1000 company tractors each as well. With massive fleets like that on the roads all running speed governed trucks I don't know how you could be missing them
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi BackOffMyTruck:

    ___I had an accident about 9 years ago involving a Martin Trucking 18-wheeler w/ a female driver behind the wheel. She moved from the left lane back into the right lane (mine) in heavy traffic and bounced me between the Jersey Barriers and her trailer at Lake Cook Road on I294/I94 junction just North of Chicago about 9 years ago. I was damn fortunate not to have my head taken off as the trailer beat up the cab of the truck all to hell. Once I was spit out of the back in multiple 360’s, she kept going. Fortunately, the Nissan P/U truck I drove was still drivable and I had to chase this POS driver down with stripped sheet metal, busted plastic and broken glass hanging and flying off as I was doing so. She never stopped even when I got in front of her and slowed down to 20 mph with the flashers on but I got plates, descriptions and even witnesses. The trooper I met at the Lake Forest Oasis took my info down and said unless she pulled over in the state, she is as good as gone even after the police report was filed. It took almost 7 months and threat of a lawsuit for Martin to pay for my P/U trucks $5,100 repair and even then the driver told her employer it never happened.

    ___No zone… Then why in the hell would a rig be passing people to begin with? As for an opportunity for your rigs tires to blow in a 180 direction away from that trailer or rig, do they or is it just to the side? If it blows, it blows and whoever is to your direct side is screwed… or are they? Yet that doesn’t stop the industry from using re-treads and the issues those damn things cause :(

    ___Speed limited… To what. I have read of Schneider being backed down to 61 or 63 mph. All over the map for the rest. But the funny thing is Chicago has 55 mph limits and 45 mph construction zones for tens of miles on the North side. The trucks are speed limited which may be great for the last 2/3 of Illinois but it sure does not stop them from driving above the limits in Chicago proper.

    ___Safest? Your fellow drivers are in a 20,000 to 80,000 + pound rig at above the speed limits with stopping distances that can be best measured by lengths of football fields and you are equating that with being safe? As mentioned previously, the only good thing is you are in a high visible vehicle, you cannot accelerate like a bat out of hell. On top of that you do a lot of your driving between here and the middle of nowhere. I have to reiterate that since I have not seen one truck following the 45 mph construction zones that are in place on both Rt. 41/I94 and I94/294 through the North side of Chicago in the last 3 months. Let me know what “profession” you are in where speeding is condoned and possibly even encouraged?

    ___When there is a big rig wreck, guess which vehicle wins to the detriment of those in smaller vehicle that were doing the speed limits? Big rig wrecks are the worst and when the happen, holy smokes is their a problem in Chicago. Fortunately there was only one every other week or so when I used to be a high mileage driver.

    ___About surf drafting… Do you pass people? Do you drive above the speed limit? If so, you are placing them in a surf, traffic side than distant as you pull back into their lane with hopefully plenty of safe room to do so. I pray you never pass anybody but I know that is not the case.

    ___Instead of BackOffMyTruck, why don’t you BackOffMyCar the next time you come up on me? I rarely carry a camera with me to snap pics on the road but one the one day I did, you have three pics to enjoy which is a daily occurance around here.

    ___Good Luck

  16. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    Hi BackOffMyTruck--

    I'll just have to echo what Wayne has been saying all along. Although most (I'd say 95%) of truckers are professionals and very courteous on the road, there's more than enough jerks out there to get others killed on a daily basis.

    With regards to drafting of any kind, I can't even draft if I wanted to. They're all blasting by at 70+ in the left lane not giving a damn about their FE or other drivers, and to hell with the guy in the right lane doing 50-55, actually at or under the Psl for once.


    Next question?
  17. BackOffMyTruck

    BackOffMyTruck generic non-offensive saying

    So Wayne, Do you think we ought to outlaw those big dangerous trucks? You'll get mighty hungry in Chicago. Everything you own, including your food, clothing, the material that built your house, and your Honda Insight got to you on a truck.
    I am deeply sorry that you had a run in with one of the bad eggs in my profession. Many of the bad ones found their way into the profession during the terrible driver shortages of the mid 90's. I wish it weren't so.
    Yes, I DO pass people and will continue to do so. I set my cruise control for 63 MPH and I do my best not to vary from that speed because speeding up and slowing down reduces MPG. In 14 years I have never had a truck accident. At my current job I am 500,000 miles accident free, but I've only been with this company a little over 4 years. In my driving career I am well over a million miles accident free. I am sorry.
    This site DOES encourage surf drafting Let me quote from the site
    "Surf: Pulling in just behind and along side of semi-tractor trailer rig at speed attempting to reduce your own aerodynamic drag by riding in the broader wake the rig ahead and to the side of you has created. Results are minimal but better than driving naked into the wind."
    That can be found on this page complete with pictures http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1510

    Bash my profession all you want, and yes there are a lot of drivers that deserve bashing, but surf drafting is asking for trouble.
  18. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi BackOffMyTruck:

    ___I am not bashing your profession whatsoever but you came here to bash hypermiling, didn’t you. What I simply asked is do you pass people and/or drive over the speed limit? Simple question and your answer reveals exactly what the problem is. You do and yes, you drive over the limit. Given your nick, you did not come here to teach us about your profession but instead to spit bullets and unfortunately, I can take pic after pic of your professional brethren doing foolish things tomorrow, the next day and the day following until hell freezes over.

    ___As for the How’s and Why’s, I wrote it and as you go by, I will enjoy the free ride each and every time even if you are doing an illegal act while giving me the free gift. Thank you but I wish you wouldn’t as you are needlessly burning fuel.

    ___My wish is that the next time radio banter picks up, you get on the airwaves and start blasting those within earshot traveling over the limits and tailgating as they do day after day after day to damn well stop. Unfortunately, your constant speed 63 mph non-sense is not only fuel wasting (it is called speed limits and DWL for a reason) but is illegal and unsafe no matter how you try and candy coat it :mad:

    ___Finally, our goal is to move everyone in the same direction by consuming less fuel when you do have to turn the key. At 6.5 mpg, your wage is less than the $Dollar cost of fuel you consume plus the time you waste to fuel with the shorter ranges. If diesel B goes the way of Europe by 2012, you will be limited to 50 mph and will be legal most everywhere. Until that time, please BackOffMyCar and try and save a little more fuel for your fellow drivers if you could please. Your job and profession depends on you to start considering the bigger picture.

    ___Good Luck

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
  19. laurieaw

    laurieaw Sorceress of the North

    my really bad experience was last fall in wisconsin. i live in minnesota, and am not familiar with the roads i was on in wisconsin. it was a windy, narrow country road, speed limit 55, which is what i was driving. i saw a semi approaching from behind, and he just kept coming.....fast. when he got to me, he ran so close i could not see his license plate. i tapped the brakes, and though i didn't think it possible, he got closer. i tried to slow, no change. there was oncoming traffic, and no room for me to maneuver or get off the road, since i was not familiar with it and we were going too fast to just swing into a side road. i was scared for my life.

    i don't understand the mindset of someone driving a vehicle that size on the trunk of a HONDA CIVIC!!! what they %$*&(#$(&*(*&% would a driver be thinking????

    i finally got away from him when we came to a turn lane to go onto another road, and he moved into that lane. it was supposed to be my turn, as i found out after i passed by it and found a place to hyperventilate for a few moments. i managed to see his door sign as he moved over, and contacted the company, which was local in the area i was in. i don't know what happened to the driver, or if the company owner even cared.

    i understand that you have many many miles of safe driving on your record. but please tell me how a regular drive can deal with someone like this who refuses to back off, even when there is no choice.
  20. scissorhands

    scissorhands Well-Known Member

    3 weeks ago I did a night drive from Auckland to Wellington New Zealand when the roads are 95% trucks. At one point coming the other way was a convoy all bunched up to save gas. About 15 big rigs real close together doing a slow 50mph when they normally do 65mph, with a couple of stragglers speeding to catch up. I often do night drives rather than pay for motels which are about $100 night here minimum. This was the first time i have seen truckers drafting each other. I still had 5 hours to go and had only recently discovered hypermiling online....So I thought I'd give it a go to. Remember I'm a newbie with tyres still at 30psi...I start close drafting trucks...Nearly every time, after 10 or 15min the driver on bends would drift the trailer onto the verge and try and spray my windscreen with stones...I would move in an opposite direction over into the opposing lane to avoid stone chips, windscreen etc...I think I was public enemy #1 on the cb radio!! Driving my tiny 620kg 954cc citroen....As I got closer to Auckland I decided to draft a truck for only 10min then find another before he got sick and tired of me up his date. It was all in all pretty stressful, especially as the draft speed of 65mph up a trucks date is very stressful. Now I'm a little more practised, 45psi hypermiler who engines off ALOT and averages 45mph, this previous type of driving is senseless for me. By driving slowly for longer I ARRIVE MUCH LESS TIRED. The cognitive functions required are much less as is the stress. Engine off coasts remind me of sailing and the joy of a free ride, I experience a Zen like meditative state where my attention lies in the welfare of my vehicle and fuel, and the most opportune way to make my journey a win win situation as much as possible for as many people as possible. Drafting trucks seems to be ok if you are driving a truck and not a tiny little little piece of french crap....Maybe one day when all vehicles are all equal we can draft in peace and harmony?

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