ATA urges motorists not to tailgate trucks

The American Trucking Associations is urging automobile drivers to avoid the dangerous practice of tailgating heavy trucks in efforts to increase fuel economy. ATA also is advising fleet safety directors to warn their drivers and owner-operators about the resurgence of this dangerous practice among automobile drivers, known as “drafting.”

“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 car.

ATA recently learned that drafting is being promoted by two web sites 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, overinflating 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.

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