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Old 12-26-2009, 10:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What is the effect of crosswinds?

I've been reading a lot on this site about determining Cd by coastdowns and the importance of "no wind" to be accurate. Also, there is lots of discussion on reducing frontal drag. I haven't been able to find much on how crosswinds effect drag and fuel economy. My experience is that crosswind seems to drop my mileage just as much as a headwind. I found one article relating to soapbox derby cars that said that a crosswind changes the effective frontal area as it moves the angle of the headwind around to the side of the car and changes the way the air flows over the body. (sorry if I'm not expaining this very well) If I understand the article correctly, a 25mph crosswind could double the effective frontal area of my car at 60mph. I would like to understand this better and would appreciate if some of you experts could explain this better or direct me to the info if this has been discussed already. The wind blows a lot here and I'm wondering if crosswind should be taken into account when thinking about reducing aero drag.

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