Confessions of a drafting junkie

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Magendanz's picture
Joined: 07/12/2008
Points: 155

I'm sure you've all read about hypermiling. While some of the tips and tricks they promote to improve milage aren't really applicable to the Vectrix, I've found that many do make a noticeable difference. In fact, because our range is so limited in EVs it seems that we're much more likely to adopt some of the more controversial techniques that extreme hypermilers have been known to use...particularly when the battery is running low. The fact that we've got an instantaneous estimated range readout on our instrument panel probably doesn't hurt either.

While I originally stuck to surface streets on my Vectrix to reduce my average speed for safety and range optimization, I've recently been revisiting that decision. It turns out that the vast majority of motorcycle accidents occur on city streets, not on highways, so it's not necessarily any safer to be sticking to the streets. In addition, I've discovered that while drafting behind a large truck at max speed I can still achieve between 30-40 miles range. The effect is something I'd grown to appreciate as a cyclist, but it's even more dramatic on the Vectrix estimated range display.

And of course, even if I need to sit on the shoulder for a minute to wait for an unsuspecting 18-wheeler, I'll get to my destination much faster. When you're running late to a meeting, that can be the critical factor.

Yes, it's technically tailgating and I'm sure the truck drivers aren't all that keen on the practice, but it's not like these large trucks can stop on a dime anyway. In my opinion, it's not that it's particularly unsafe. It's that it's a bit rude.

So do we have any other drafting junkies out there? What rationalizations do you use?

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Mik's picture
Joined: 12/11/2007
Points: 3739
Re: Confessions of a drafting junkie

Search Visforvoltage for "no gimmicks".

(I cannot link to it, because I am using a small mobile device.)


This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

moccasin's picture
Joined: 07/11/2008
Points: 494
Re: Confessions of a drafting junkie

No thanks. When I'm on two wheels, I don't ride behind anything that blocks my view of potential hazards and potential escape routes.

There have been times, due to horrendous weather, that I have felt safer drafting an 18 wheeler (sort of using it as my bodyguard and seeing eye vehicle), but when you're on two wheels and you see smoke from the rear tires of a big rig, it's already too late to question whether it was a good idea or not.

However, I suppose that drafting on the highway is no less safe than pushing if you run out of juice! HAHA!! :-0

Joined: 12/12/2007
Points: 295
Re: Confessions of a drafting junkie

I was in a wreck that was not of my doing. I stopped behind a car at a red light and the car behind me was fishing for a cell phone that had fallen on the floor. Mine was a totalled 1979 Volvo 240.

I walked away.

Recently my brother in law suffered a motorcycle crash when he was too close to the back of an SUV that slammed on its brakes to avoid a crash in front of it. Many non-critical injuries, but his right arm was totally devastated. It appears that heart and brain surgery is fairly easy, but repairing a crushed hand is quite complex.

Drafting an 18-wheeler on a maxi-scooter is like the difference between a car wreck and a plane wreck.

Planes are safer per passenger-mile than cars, but when they DO crash, you probably won't walk away.

I drive an 18-wheeler, just my opinion...

reikiman's picture
Joined: 11/19/2006
Points: 8444
Re: Confessions of a drafting junkie

I agree 'drafting' is completely unsafe. Motorcyclists especially need to be able to look ahead and see what's coming and plan escape routes. The big rigs block that view and make you in an unsafe position, also you're probably invisible to the big rig driver because you can't be seen in their rear view mirror and the big rig driver may make decisions based on thinking nobody is behind them.


the car behind me was fishing for a cell phone that had fallen on the SUV that slammed on its brakes

A nitpick on word choice. It was not the car which was fishing for its cell phone, it was the driver of the car who was fishing for their cell phone. Similarly it was the driver of the SUV who slammed on the brakes of their SUV.


- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe,,, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra Townie, 1971 Karmann Ghia (since sold), Kia Soul EV

dogman's picture
Joined: 04/29/2008
Points: 830
Re: Confessions of a drafting junkie

Just tell us where to send the flowers. It was nice to have known ya.


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pgt400's picture
Joined: 06/04/2008
Points: 95
Re: Confessions of a drafting junkie

Yeah, have you tried grabbing onto the trucks bumper? Should really help your range! ;>}

ratwerks's picture
Joined: 02/09/2009
Points: 7
Re: Confessions of a drafting junkie

Drafting absolutely increases your risk in an already risky activity. That said, I do it too. I started drafting trucks in the 70's during long cold rides across the Texas night. I'd tell myself .oO { just until I warm up a bit ... } but usually ended up eyes glued to brake lights until my next gas stop. I had a 25 mile commute and found that with a strong headwind I could choose among: 1> run out of charge a mile or so short 2> ride on US 101 at 50 mph or 3> draft a truck. I mostly chose 3 under those circumstances. I also "enjoy" the intense focus required by drafting or lane splitting (where by "enjoy" I mean it wears me right out.)


Vectrix 2007 > 5,000 miles
Stokemoney/Xtracycle 2008

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