Wanted: Documentation of Dangerous Drafters...

Discussion in 'General' started by Chuck, Aug 6, 2008.


How many Instances of Close Drafting Semis to save Fuel Have You Seen the Last Year?

  1. Several times a day

    0 vote(s)
  2. Daily

    4 vote(s)
  3. Weekly

    6 vote(s)
  4. Monthly

    6 vote(s)
  5. Once in the last 3 months

    8 vote(s)
  6. Once in the last 6 months

    4 vote(s)
  7. Maybe once in the last year

    15 vote(s)
  8. None

    46 vote(s)
  9. I close draft

    7 vote(s)
  1. run500mph

    run500mph Well-Known Member

    True, true.

    Isn't it interesting to see how fatalities are falling on the roads lately?

    Part of the reason may be less driving due to gas prices. But also slowing down which is a form of hypermiling.

    So there.... irrefutable proof hypermiling is deadly and evil. I think the bible even condemns it. Thou shalt not coast down the mountain on thy ass in neutral.

    Hey D-Flyer, how many members are signed up here, and how many hits does the site get lately? People ask me but I don't know what to tell them...take care
  2. run500mph

    run500mph Well-Known Member

    Also for the poll I think it's really like 99.9% answering NONE in a way because I believe it is exremely rare to see a guy draft a semi on purpose purely for gas savings. They are really just a tailgater. To see what the other poster saw when a car was totally following the semi I think is very rare.

    Even if they are a tailgater, I would think its rarely for the specific purpose of FE.
    And I KNOW Hypermilers don't tailgate!
  3. DocOc

    DocOc Well-Known Member

    here is the AAA logic on this
    - people tailgate on highways -> tailgating may save fuel due to reduced wind resistance -> hypermilers advocate saving fuel -> tailgaters are also hypermilers
    tailgaters therefore should stop hypermiling because it is dangerous.
    from a strictly logical/rational standpoint, this kinda makes sense. but please note that this view sees tailgaters as hypermilers, not hypermilers as tailgaters. (kind of like all apples are fruit, but not all fruit are apples)
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  4. JusBringIt

    JusBringIt Be Inspired

    so even when I'm going 35 and someone's "giving me a prostate exam" then they're hypermiling? I don't think hypermilers get that close to vehicle ahead and stay planted until said vehicle moves out of the way.
  5. 93Hatch

    93Hatch Well-Known Member

    I was thinking about the drafting thing. I think when people see hypermilers condone the distance draft, they focus in on the draft aspect, and assume that all drafting is dangerous because they have heard the same. Maybe here at CMPG we should do away with that terminology and simply say we are following at a safe distance or something.
  6. DocOc

    DocOc Well-Known Member

    @ justbringit: please re-read my post. my disclaimer states that tailgaters may be hypermilers (for the short amount of time they spend tailgating) due to a slight increase in FE...but hypermilers are NOT tailgaters.
  7. JusBringIt

    JusBringIt Be Inspired

    My statement was not directed at yours, however it did include some of the logic. I understood what you said in your statement completely. Tailgaters to me however are just overly aggressive drivers who as a coincidence have an increase in mileage by committing a dirty act.
  8. DocOc

    DocOc Well-Known Member

    sorry about that then. and yes that was ultimately my point as well.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  9. jamesqf

    jamesqf Well-Known Member

    I know I've said this before, but if you want to see drafting, or at least instances of cars at a speed/separation which is effective drafting, just drive I580/205 between Livermore & Tracy, any weekday before about 3:30 pm (when it turns into a long parking lot). Basically every will be at 2-3 car lengths separation, going 50-60 mph.
  10. Xringer

    Xringer Older Member

    I took a ride up to the north shore (on US-95) this week and a couple of times, it sure seemed like the car behind me was drafting on me, about 3 car lengths back.
    Even when the right lane slowed down to 45, they stayed right there, matching my speed changes exactly..
    (That's when I started getting better than 34 MPG)!

    I did see tons of tailgating going on in the other lanes. Cars with less than 2 car lengths
    of buffer were common in the left lanes.
    They were drafting, but not to save on fuel, but just because they are too stupid to realize they are risking lives.
  11. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    Well said.
  12. jlclarke

    jlclarke Member

    I hope this doesn't sound too stupid, but I am not convinced that drafting a semi is all that dangerous. Given the relative speed (ie slow) of the trucks, the few lane changes, everyone's giddiness to get around them...they seem pretty safe to hang around. Given the fact that I'm in a tiny car with great brakes and a very short stopping distance and they have massive wieght and a very long stopping distance, I feel as though I should have ample time to respond to an aggressive braking maneuver from the semi.

    As I drive the interstate, I always see trucks drafting eachother. If it is such a dangerous activity, why do they engage in it themselves.

    I am just not convinced that it is the same thing as tailgaiting a Volvo. There is a major difference in my opinion. Am I way off base here?
  13. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

    But you don't have time to respond to other things from the semi,
    like chuckin' a fresh alligator or throwing up rocks. Not worth
    it. Hopefully this clarifies your doubt before everyone jumps
    in flaming you right and left...
  14. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Have you seen the thingys under the semi trailer's rear bumper? Without them, any car slamming into the back would have it's roof cut off, along with the head of the driver. :eek: :eek:

    The biggest danger is close drafting prevents you from knowing what's ahead with very little reaction time....you have to be on pins and needles....I speak from trying it over two years ago and have not since. What if there is a traffic gridlock ahead? You definitely won't be able to anticipate and avoid it - not even a Nav device could help you on that one.

    Even with $4.00 gas and $5.00 diesel, most semis are going over 60mph...the most serious hypermilers are going slower than that. For those willing to draft at 65-70, it still makes no sense from a fuel saving standpoint unless you are away from the urban areas, the drafting moment is too short in the city.

    On top of the sustantial pragmatic reasons, is the PR reason - drafting gives hypermilers a bad name and preven otherwise interested drivers from at least trying hypermiling.
  15. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    I see it pretty regularly on rural interstates. (I drive about 600 mi/week.) Commonly it is semi's drafting semi's --but I haven't seen any million mile safety award drivers doing it since I've been keeping track over about the last year. I can't say that I've ever seen or heard of an accident or near accident that resulted from close drafting semi's on rural highways other than gravel dings from equipment haulers. Not that I'm saying it's particularly safe. You might want to save that technique for the track; it's probably about the safety equivalent of smoking a pack a day....I haven't deliberately close drafted in several months.

    You pretty regularly hear about 10-50 car pile ups in urban areas where everybody follows too closely. IMO increasing urban following distances is the main safety topic in this area that DOT, AAA, CMPG, everybody should be emphasizing. People just plain need to give bigger buffers. It seems like AAA etc. is missing the forest for the trees here. I honestly believe that next to slowing down, driving with buffers is the most productive hypermiling technique, but it more or less gets overlooked in favor of discussing drafting in the usual news article:confused:.
  16. Xringer

    Xringer Older Member

    If you are driving in the right lane with the truck traffic, you should try to keep well away from trucks.
    Not all truck drivers are pros and some of them have been known to make mistakes and even make panic stops.

    If a truck is actually not speeding, I like to drive 8 or 10 seconds behind it, since
    that gives me a good buffer and tailgaters can actually see the slow
    truck in front of me and maybe understand why I'm driving 55 and not tailgate me..
    The FE advantage comes when the truck gets to a hill and his speed slowly drops off.
    That gives you (in the case car) a good reason to slow down too.
    So, now speeders coming up behind you see the slow truck and understand
    that you are just maintaining your buffer behind the truck..
    They will fly by without even honking the horn at you! :D

    I had a big truck pass me today and when he pulled back into the right lane, I couldn't
    see anything up the road. I had to drop back about 80 yards before I felt safe.
    Funny thing was, as I was dropping back, I could not see his rearview mirrors!
    (Meaning he has no way of know if anyone is behind him)!
  17. snowcabbage

    snowcabbage Member

    I don't tail semis. Sometimes semis tail me. I see very few trucks abiding the posted 55 mph limit for trucks and other vehicles with trailers.
  18. fixedintime

    fixedintime Well-Known Member

    I know a guy who was driving a work van with some good road clearance on the Washington DC Beltway. A small car with not so good road clearance was drafting on him - not that the poor fellow would call it drafting mind you. Suddenly they come upon some road debris. The fellow in the van had plenty of clearance and passed over the debris. The fellow behind him saw it about he time he hit it. The friend said the last think he saw as fiberglass going all over the beltway.

    You may have time to respond to the sudden braking, you don't have time to see or respond when the semi goes over the muffler someone carelessly left in the roadway. You will see that about ten feet before you hit it.
  19. Xringer

    Xringer Older Member

    So, if you get on a highway and want to drive in the right hand lane at 55, and there
    is a 16 wheeler about 100 yards ahead of you, in the right lane also going 55..

    Do you speed up and pass him? Or drop down to 50 until he is 900 yards ahead? :)
  20. LL3

    LL3 Well-Known Member

    100 yards..that's about 18 car lengths. I say to stay where your at or slow down on a coast.

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