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Old 04-07-2011, 04:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Think twice about drafting...

Don't know if I'll be doing any drafting after seeing this!!
You can skip to about 30 seconds into the video...

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Old 04-07-2011, 04:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No Youtube at work, but I know which video this is. That person wasn't drafting. If they were, the board probably would have impacted the front of their car instead of going through the windshield.

Nobody should ever advocate drafting anyway, it is inherently dangerous.

But yeah, I would definitely be needing a change of pants if that happened to me. Very scary.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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He wasn't drafting. That looked like the 2x4 actually came off the side of the road.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That was still WAY too close. That looked like less than a second worth of distance. Plus he was driving while filming at that distance. Very dangerous. I always try to stay 3 seconds behind or more.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Something similar happened to me a few years back. That made me flinch.
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yuoper, if you hear a slapping sound or like a basket ball being dribbled, get away from that semi. Also if you cant see their mirrors, you are too close.



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Old 04-10-2011, 01:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There is an inherent risk to driving near any other vehicle, even ones in the lanes next to you or in oncoming traffic. Debris on the roadway can be thrown long distances and the speeds of impact are very high but this is a risk that all drivers take when they hit the expressways and it's not changed much by drafting.
As implied by Eli, When drafting you're somewhat shielded from debris by the truck in front of you but are still at risk from anything it's wheels throw up or large objects it simply passes over.

The real risk change connected to drafting is collision. If you're traveling at 60MPH and 6 car lengths (78 ft) back, if the semi in front of you does an all out emergency stop, and you don't react at all, you'll impact them at about 30MPH, if you are 20ft back and don't react, you impact them at about 8MPH. The difference is likely to be the difference of breaking their back bumper and impacting the back of the truck with your windshield versus denting your hood and maybe doing damage to the top of the engine. At 6 lengths, you have a lot longer to react but if you're not paying attention you could impact them at either distance and the damage done when not drafting is far worse.

I'm not sure how things are in other areas, but here in Chicagoland, having a large vehicle in front of you seems to also protect you more from aggressive drivers passing on the right shoulder or weaving through the lanes around you as well as offering much better visibility to the frequent drivers running at extreme speeds (110MPH+) I've personally had far more close calls with aggressive drivers (even in the middle of the night while almost alone on the road) than from close calls related to drafting so I'll continue to take the protection of drafting when possible.

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Old 04-10-2011, 09:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I had a large laundry basket fly out of the bed of the pickup truck in front of me once, and come flying towards me, but I was able to avoid it by quickly jerking the wheel, but also since the car is low, the basket just went over the car.

but yeah, road debri are pretty common, you just have to stay alert when driving.
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I mean, don't get me wrong.. I'm as opportunistoc as the next guy. If I come up on a slow moving semi(or van, truck..), I'll draft for a while.. But within reason. I'm not going to get up within 2ft of their bumper. Depending on the conditions, you can still see benefits from being at the proper following distance - being able to see their mirrors.
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Anyone seen that Mythbuster episode where they did a test to see if a shredded tire from a semi can shoot and decapitate a person? I hate those tire debris on the freeway. Some are huge.

Anyway, prior to driving a hybrid and becoming OCD about high MPG I was afraid of drafting, not because of shooting tire debris or something falling off of the car in front of me, but because of the semi trucks kicking and shooting rocks and causing rock chips. Now that I'm more informed about ways to increase MPGs with a hybrid, I will occassional draft on the freeway, but usually at a safe distance mainly because I don't want tiny rocks sandblasting my front end, and of course the safety factor--want some space between me and the semi should the semi need to suddenly slow down or stop. I will not draft a rock lorry or anything carrying dirt or flammable material.

Btw, with gas skyrocketing (LA County, $4.19 regular the past couple days), I've noticed traffic going slower. A few weeks back, I was on the freeway and an SUV was behind me most of the time, and I was on the far right cruising at 55-60mph since traffic wasn't congested and I didn't feel like I was holding traffic. The SUV followed me a distance away and didn't seem to be in a rush either. Usually if an SUV is behind me, it looks to be in a hurry and I feel like I need to move out of its way even if I'm going with the flow of traffic.
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