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What is “drafting” and why is it so dangerous?

What is “drafting” and why is it so dangerous?

With gas prices as high as they are, if you don’t have an electric vehicle (EV), you’re probably looking at ways to get more mileage out of every gallon. Some people will even engage in the highly dangerous practice of “drafting.”

Drafting is when a driver travels very closely behind a large commercial truck like an 18-wheeler or semi where it’s shielded by the truck from the wind. The idea is that this is a low-pressure area, so the car or other vehicle needs to use less gas. 

This, however, doesn’t account for the fact that the smaller vehicle is still dealing with atmospheric wind. If there’s a lot of it, the truck is likely going to sway. That makes trying to drive close behind it even more dangerous than it would be without windy conditions.

The driver isn’t following the two (or more) second rule

The first problem with drafting a big rig is that the driver is ignoring the “two-second rule” that you should be far enough behind a vehicle that it takes at least two seconds from the time it passes a given point to when you pass it. Many safety experts say it really should be at least three seconds, and that’s in good weather. Remember, too, that trucks take longer to stop if they have to do so suddenly.

The driver is in a blind spot

A second serious danger of drafting is that the vehicle doing it is likely in one of the truck driver’s blind spots. Large commercial trucks have four large blind spots. This is crucial for any driver to remember, even if they’re not trying to “draft” a truck. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re so close to the truck that you can’t see its side mirrors, assume the driver can’t see you.

If you see someone trying to draft behind a big rig, get out of the way of both the truck and the smaller vehicle. It’s not a safe situation. 

If you are injured by a reckless or negligent driver, it’s crucial not to settle for any less than the compensation you need to deal with short-term and long-term expenses. A crash involving a car and truck can have devastating consequences for those in the smaller vehicle.

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