This tactic to save money on gas could cost you your life


Ideas for reducing the cost of driving, such as carpooling or buying smaller, more efficient cars, have gained popularity. One concept however, may be getting far too much positive publicity. It's the risk-your-own-life practice of drafting. Sure, it's used in every NASCAR race on the circuit. But while it could save you in gasoline usage, it could also kill you in a split second.

Drafting is accomplished by tucking your vehicle in behind a larger vehicle while moving at highway speed. The tactic is most often employed behind the trailers of eighteen-wheelers. By moving to within 100 feet or less of the lead vehicle, drivers take advantage of the swath that the lead vehicle cuts through the air. The vacuum pocket behind the truck reduces air resistance and the "wake" of the truck closes in behind you helping to propel you along. However, my two brothers-in-law, who are professional drivers, will tell you that there's nothing more nerve wracking for a truck driver than when a car moves in so close behind that it can't be seen in the truck's mirrors. It's simply a recipe for disaster.

The problem is, for the maneuver to be effective at all, you need to be too dangerously close to the lead vehicle. Any successful drafting attempt eliminates your safe reaction time. If the lead vehicle needs to stop in a hurry, about all you'll have time to effectively do is to open your eyes very wide and then noisily go splat. If the truck kicks up road debris, it will be on you before you can blink.

Kiplinger 's Personal Finance writer, Stacy Rapacon has provided us with five safe waysto save money on fueling your car. Stacy's ideas don't involve risking your life or compromising the safety of other drivers. Additionally, Kiplinger's can help you to get ahead of the game by steering you into cars with the best fuel economy ratings.

Remember, saving money a few pennies on gas is a foolish bargain if it puts you or others at risk. You can't spend the money you saved on gas while resting in your grave.