Over the last few years, a few showboating motorists have been experimenting with an extremely dangerous technique for saving gas. This technique is called drafting, and it’s incredible reckless.
Drafting is not a brand new idea, but it’s become a little more well known since the popular science television program Mythbusters demonstrated that the technique could theoretically provide some genuine benefits. But despite a small amount of evidence that tailgating a semi-truck could save motorists a buck or two, there is a much larger number of reasons that drivers should avoid doing so.
Drafting to Save Gas is Dangerous
Tailgating semi-trucks is a stupid thing to thing. Period. Big trucks are immense. They carry heavy loads at high speeds. Semi-truck accidents are devastating. Because of their size and power, trucks are very likely to cause massive damage, serious injuries, and even fatalities. All drivers should remain at safe distances behind big trucks.
If you draft—and let’s call it by its real name, tailgating—you are increasing the risks of semi-truck accidents in the United States. Not only are you endangering yourself, you are endangering every other motorist on the road. Any witness to your inevitable accident will make clear your reckless driving.
The truck driver, who is likely working long hours and struggling to stay alert despite harsh company deadlines, is put at significant risk. There is a good reason trucks have stickers and mirror messages telling motorists to stay at certain lengths behind them. If you are too close, the trucker can’t see you. If the trucker can’t see you, the trucker can’t react. Any sudden moves you make could distract her or him. Likewise, any sudden movements the trucker may be inclined to make may be disastrous for you because the trucker won’t take you into account.
Other motorists are also put at risk when you drive too closely behind a trucker. Truckers won’t be able to take their full surroundings into account if there are ridiculous cheapskates trying to scam their ways into an easy couple of dollars riding their backsides on the highway. Don’t tailgate truck drivers; it is a reckless, selfish, risky behavior.
Drafting is Not Especially Saving Gas Money
Drafting may increase your gas mileage by a little bit, sure. But is it really so lucrative? Let’s take a look at the information we have got.
According to the now infamous Mythbusters routine, sticking at 100 feet behind a semi while driving 50 miles per hour will improve your gas mileage by about 20%, and staying at 10 feet behind a semi (also while driving 55 miles per hour) will improve your gas mileage by about 45%.
These results may sound dramatic at face value, but you’d be wrong to think so for a few reasons. First, 20% better gas mileage is not going to save you that much money. The only way you’d get big savings from doing this is if you drove on the highway for several hours every day, and you spent the entire time behind a semi truck. This is an absurd scenario, and even if you found the opportunity to pull it off, it would be reckless; tailgating semis for hours a day, every day, would undoubtedly lead to catastrophe. You won’t save money by causing truck accidents. Don’t draft.