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Old 12-28-2007, 10:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Drafting off center?

How far to one side do you figure you can go and still benefit from drafting? The scariest part of drafting is how fast the behemoth in front of you can slam on the brakes. I find that I'm much more comfortable riding close to the concrete divider in the fast lane than my larger counterparts, so much so that I can peek around them to further traffic and see what's going on ahead. Doing so makes me wonder just how much I am still effectively drafting.

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Old 12-28-2007, 10:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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1) You need instrumentation, my friend!

2) Also, I tend not to draft. Even though you may be able to peek around the side of the guy in front, you're still missing a huge amount of visual information about what's going on ahead.

From a defensive driving perspective, when you draft, you more or less hand control of your vehicle to the driver you're following. If s/he brakes, you're pretty much forced to immediately brake also. It's reactive vs. proactive.

IMO, the real danger of having to brake unexpectedly at freeway speeds isn't that you're going to run into the vehicle in front of you. Obviously you're paying much closer attention to what's going on than the average no-brainer who typically follows too closely while chatting on the cell, etc.

The danger to you is from the vehicles behind you & the risk of a rear crash into your vehicle if you're ever forced to brake suddenly.

Just putting it out there. I for one don't recommend drafting.
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Old 12-28-2007, 06:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
I for one don't recommend drafting.
I'm with you there. Not only will a pulse and glide regime around 80-90kph in the slow lane get you there with less fuel, you will have plenty of room up front to brake, and people from behind can see you easily enough.
"Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed." - Isaac Newton
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Old 12-29-2007, 01:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Install an airspeed indicator in your dash with the pitot tube mounted in the nose of your car to help you find the best positions for drafting and also to tell if you are driving in a head or tailwind situation so you can adjust your speed to compensate.
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Old 12-29-2007, 01:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I say, If you are going to draft, Draft something big, so you can stay back about 3-4 seconds and still benefit. Even in my large vehicle, I can still hear and feel the difference at 4 seconds behind (Drivers side door or window leaks and it goes quite when drafting).

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Old 12-29-2007, 01:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Against the Draft

I'm not much for close-in draft for safety concerns. This past year, I saw a big rig kick-up a pallet board into the driver's area of a Toyota minivan. Everyone was fine, but it looked scary

On the highway, I usually rely on the momentary "side-draft" or pulling action of the tractor-trailer. If I'm loading-up a hill in the right lane, a middle lane truck can generally be found making it up the same hill, but faster.

When they pass, there's some initial wind blocking that continues to the rear trailer wheels and (for me) seems to taper-off at about 4 car lengths behind the trailer on either side. This helps get up the hill. If they're going pretty fast, they can pull a bulk of air with them and essentially pull you up the hill -- although slight.

The same idea can be used if you're being consistently passed by other drivers.

Just don't hang out too long -- it can irritate the driver or create a blind spot.

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research ― Albert Einstein

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