June 11, 2007
Motorists urged not to tailgate trucks to save fuel
Alexandria, Virginia – The American Trucking Associations is urging automobile drivers to avoid the dangerous practice of tailgating heavy trucks in efforts to increase fuel economy. “Drafting” involves driving a car very close behind a truck to use the reduction of wind resistance to reduce the amount of energy needed to propel the auto.
“Few driving behaviours are more dangerous on our highways than drafting,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “Drivers who practice this unsafe behavior are often out of the field of vision of the truck driver and are unable to see around the truck. ‘Drafting’ is unsafe, illegal and significantly increases the chances of injury and death. This practice compromises the safety of everyone on the nation’s highways and must not be considered a viable means of extending fuel mileage.”
ATA recently learned that drafting is being promoted by two websites dedicated to “hypermiling” and several recent news articles have described the hazardous fad. Hypermiling is an invented term for achieving high fuel economy by several means, including dangerous ones such as driving partly on the right shoulder, over-inflating tires, coasting with the ignition off and “drafting” behind tractor-trailers. Unfortunately, a segment about drafting shown recently on the Discovery Channel show “Mythbusters” is bound to prompt some drivers to try this stunt, which the show’s hosts called “suicidal.” ATA is working to educate the public on safe following distances through its Share the Road safety program.