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Old 12-01-2007, 10:54 AM   #81
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Driving Backwards

Driving backwards I refer to my old days of driving a commercial truck cross country for a living. I was in a slow diesel cab over Type B that had a 40 foot box and a wheel base the same as a city bus. When I passed other trucks, it was a slow waiting game. Since traffic behind and next to me was moving much faster I used my mirrors to look for a hole behind me and jump in that hole to catch a draft off a passing car to help me accelerate around another truck.

I use this technique today, I avoid 70 and look for trucks that are cruising around 65 mph, semis move slowly and can really teach you some throttle feathering to keep an even speed. But there are times I'm out there alone, without any trucks to draft and I stay close to the limit 60-65. I do get tailgatted every so often, but still some people can't figure out the right lane is the slow lane.

In my quest for better mileage I totally focus on my mpg read out. When I first discovered Gas Savers, I spent one whole 250 mile trip glued to MPH vs. MPG. I found my best mileage is at 64 mph, on level gounds without anything in front of me I can maintain 34 mpg. Go up to 70 and I go right to 28 mpg, go down to 55-60 and I do about 30. Some where is an rpm, wind resistance marriage that likes 64 mph. At 55 the engine is spinning too low and lugs around 2200 rpm, 70 is 3000 and 64 is 2800 rpm.

I also found disturbed air is good too, if I find a line of moving traffic, the turbulence around that group of cars gives me 2 to 3 better mpg, than just breaking wind on my own. A couple of car lengths behind a semi still gives a good mpg boost, rather than being right behind a semi, that's dangerous and your blind.

I make sure I signal allot and look for gutter ballers who like to speed in the slow lane. Some times I see a guy bullet behind me and I move over a lane, its an old racing thing that's a courtesy. They don't know it, but its kind of an ebb and flow thing. I like to drive and since I'm driving for MPG and not setting a personal speed record anymore, I find my drives to be very relaxing.

Things I can recommend is XM or Serius, I have XM and hit the 60's thru the 90's, 7 channels of rock and retroactive and then there is a station that plays movie sounds tracks I can listen to all day. In the old days of trucking before DVD's I used to listen to books on tape and tape movies. I'd listen to the entire movie through a couple hundred watts and 4 speakers. Try ro achieve the Zen of driving.
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:53 PM   #82
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The best thing to do in heavy traffic is to go with the flow up to the speed limit. If you’re the only one driving below the flow of traffic you are a menace to the majority. Bottom line, driving slower than the majority may be saving you gas/money but your wasting everyone else’s gas, time and money.

Here’s a scenario: on your commute you have multiple cars slowing down, riding your *** and racing past when you get a chance; they are using way more gas than you are saving. Yes many of these people are speeding which is wrong but many are using their car for what it is intended, to get you where you need to go as quickly as possible. Then get a couple semis having to slow down for people running way below the flow and it’s time to build another refinery. My car loses 2 MPG on a 50-mile drive if I have to slow down 10-15 miles below the speed limit more than 3 times.

I do agree with driving slower when there is light enough traffic for people can get around you without slowing down. Personally if I have time I will drive 5-10 MPH below the speed limit with light traffic which gives me an increase of less than ½ a mile to the gallon which doesn’t make up for the 2-MPG I lose when I get trapped by slow drivers in heavy traffic.

So the best way to save gas as a community is: go with the flow in heavy traffic, slow down if you choose in light traffic and use your cruise control if you have one.

Note: my wife and I drive 3 vehicles 65,000 miles a year and about 75% of it is in rural areas and interstate.
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:57 PM   #83
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And if those people that are riding your tail had a brain they would have been watching for slower traffic and would have already been in the other lane going around you. I have little sympathy for people that don't look or think ahead. It is they who are the danger, heavy traffic included.

No-See-Um drivers never cease to amaze me. Whether in heavy traffic or on deserted highways, they come zooming up behind me and hang there, pause until discovering it won't make me speed up, then go around. If they'd been paying attention they'd have simply gone around without any issues. What morons.
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Old 12-01-2007, 08:46 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by css28 View Post
For me, the epiphany came from riding a charter bus to a concert an hour from home. By nature, the bus can't accelerate or brake anywhere near as quickly as the cars surrounding it but it can (and really must) focus farther in the distance. What I found was that at the end of certain stretches of road we were still amongst the same groups of cars that we started with despite their efforts at accelerating, lane changing, etc.
Since then, I've found that the trucks and buses in the traffic mix generally do as well for arrival time as the surrounding traffic while avoiding most stops and starts.
So I drive my BMW as if were a charter bus (sort of) .
You have to realize that there is a good reason for this. People who drive cars tend to stop and do stuff like get food, buy gas, go to the bathroom, take pictures, etc. Busses typically don't make these stops. Or at least as often. This is why a bus and a car might end up at the same destination at the same time, despite the fact that the road might be open AND the cars drive faster.
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:25 AM   #85
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they feel like they have the need for speed

but they haven't ever actually sat down and done the math
They seem to feel the need to go faster than someone like me. Just like I used to. I needed to be in front of everyone! Its about getting to work on time, etc. getting back home fast, to relax, spend time with kids. On the side of town I live in, people drive nuts. There are accidents everyday on this side of town. I watched a guy tailgate me, then as soon as we made it to the passing zone he blew by me like I was standing still! He would take the time to obey the lines on the road, but the speed limit? When I drive for FE, I often try not to stop, even when I am supposed to. I don't recommend this, but I have blew through a few stop signs here and there. I guess the bottom line is most of of break the rules sometimes...
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:49 AM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smay665949 View Post
The best thing to do in heavy traffic is to go with the flow up to the speed limit. If you?re the only one driving below the flow of traffic you are a menace to the majority. Bottom line, driving slower than the majority may be saving you gas/money but your wasting everyone else?s gas, time and money.
Meh - I take responsibility for my actions. I am not responsible for anyone else mashing on their gas pedal just to slam on the brakes a quarter second later.

In any case, in heavy traffic - I get a long line of people behind me moving at a constant pace Many of which DO NOT try to pass me. Why? because moving at a constant 10-15-20mph+ is much better than spurts up to 25 and stops for 15 seconds. It's also quite enjoyable to slingshot past everyone else because they didn't give a suitable buffer space. Sure, some people cut in front into your buffer -but if you think that completely destroys the technique -you obviously haven't tried or haven't tried with a large enough buffer space This has worked in burb traffic, LA rush hour traffic, mega car crash ahead traffic etc.

Even if other people's actions were my responsibility - I'm quite satisfied with the 50 or so cars behind me getting greater than 0mpg. Even with the mash go and brake drivers getting less due to 0mpg minus all that acceleration energy But again, their feeble attempt to save up to 4% on time just doesn't work and they are not my responsibility.

I've seen semi truck drivers do this too - and I've seen semi truck drivers at a dead stop because everyone is cramming themselves forward so tight that nothing can merge
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:48 PM   #87
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Notice I was referring to rural and Interstate driving. In town I do the same as you because cities can't/won't time the lights so you can go for more than 2 blocks at a time. I have heard they do this to slow down traffic.

In town if the light turns yellow I automatically let off even if I just started rolling. A lot of timesf I'm in front I can still be moving when the light turns green.

What gets me is when I finish passing (interstate) and move right to let someone riding my tail go by and they sit on my left tail light like I am some kind of pacecar. Then when I come on a slower car I either have to speed up or kick off the cruize and slow down so I can get over to pass. Occasionally I will just hit the blinker and cut them off.
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:48 PM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smay665949 View Post
Notice I was referring to rural and Interstate driving. In town I do the same as you because cities can't/won't time the lights so you can go for more than 2 blocks at a time. I have heard they do this to slow down traffic.
Works well in those scenarios too Heavy Traffic is the same on any type of road. It it typically works out that the people that stay in one lane (and don't try to pull around) get there just as fast as everyone else.

Depends what city Downtown Miami and Ft. Lauderdale has awesome light timing. Go too fast, you'll hit a red light. Go to slow, you'll hit a red light. Stay at the posted speed - green lights all the way through downtown In my hometown - the lights are timed for the wrong speed. 52mph (speed limit is 45). The problem is - it allegedly costs the city $3,000 per light to reprogram...
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Old 12-04-2007, 11:35 AM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trebuchet03 View Post
The problem is - it allegedly costs the city $3,000 per light to reprogram...
Well it probably takes a union traffic engineer which means you need to have at least 2 of them, both getting paid 5x what I'm making now, vehicle to get there (heaven forbid you bill the whole trip as one rather than 12 little ones) with a minimum hours, plus the paperwork...

Not $3k but still a lot when it should be (at least) a magnitude smaller
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Old 12-05-2007, 02:17 PM   #90
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Heck around here it is a challenge just to attempt to do the speed limit, and nothing to do with temptation, these fools drive up your bumper act like they'll run you over if you don't do at least 20 over the speed limit.
Mind you, were you to DO 20 over they would then call the police and report you.
All the time riding your tail too, pushing, forcing, I hate that crap.

Yes sir, they're all racing to be first, for what I haven't a clue.

So it doesn't work around here to get in the slow lane, it helps but soon I get someone starts tailing, and that just frustrates. They want to go faster but they will not change lanes, I can slow down but that doesn't help either. So I have to get out of their way, slow lane or not a tailgater makes me into an unsafe driver too!

So I usually start to drift backwards through traffic, watch the rear views and switch to the clear lanes always, more so if big rigs are coming, I suspect some of those tractor drivers are likely the only ones who notice and appreciate it.

It's the same thing as if you were trying to get ahead, except you fall back instead.

What I find most amazing is there is NEVER any competition for last place.
Strange feeling, but therein exists nirvana as well.

Once I get out of the worst of the pack, I usually settle onto a speed.
The idea is to try and stay behind the pack I just got out of and ahead of the pack of wolves coming up, it's not possible to do so indefinitely when they're all doing 190mph, but a slight speed up does delay it some.
Keep in those open spaces as long as possible, then it's the same process again.

So more than anything it's a mindset.
Helium in the throttle section helps.
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