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Drafting as the geese do. Diagonally. Any pro tips?

3043 Views 16 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  redpoint5
So I am not an aero expert, much as I wish I were. Anybody out there got any advice on drafting cars that are in the next lane over? Specifically on ideal positioning- If you have professional aero advice, please share your thoughts. In my personal experience in urban heavy traffic there are times when it may be both possible and safe to do this. Depending on positioning, it could be just as safe as not doing it at all. Under dense traffic conditions anyway.

I should probably go watch some nascar as research. Or maybe ecomodder has got something. Birds and cylists seem to do well with diagonal drafting. It seems a lot safety-er (and legaller) than drafting guys in front of you. For the guys itching to post about how dangerous and stupid this post is.. Even in normal driving sometimes just by chance my car is in (what I think is) a good position to get a diagonal draft benefit.
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The only way drafting next to someone would be beneficial is if there were a cross-wind. Pressure on the sides of vehicles pushing outwards isn't a benefit. When you pass a truck, you can feel that pressure pushing you away, and then you get "sucked" back in once in front of that high pressure bubble.

There is a benefit if you're extremely close to something. Nascar drivers do this by getting close to the wall.
This. Cyclists ride an echelon if there is a crosswind. If there is not a crosswind, they ride in a paceline, and getting even a few inches out of the draft slows you down considerably.
When I have played around with drafting on a bicycle (with a friend, not in a race), we found that the best spot was with the front edge of the front tire about even with the lead bicycle's rear axle. To get that overlap, you have to go "diagonally" somewhat, of course. But you really want the two tires as close to touching as possible, to get more "behind" than "diagonal".

When geese fly, the flapping of their wings creates an invisible horizontal vortex. It to is this vortex that the following goose aligns its own wing for a boost.
Have a look at any team time trial event, and unless there is a crosswind, you'll see this. The only time someone comes off the line is when they are done with their pull, and drops back to the end of the group.

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Flight is different than ground travel. You don't want to be in the vacuum bubble of the guy in front of you when flying because you require air density to maintain lift. On the ground, it's perfectly fine to be in a vacuum because you don't need to keep from falling from the sky.
For a little more detail, see Not only is it important that birds have wings, but they need to flap their wings at the right rate to get the lift benefits of the vee formation.
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