Police and automotive experts say over-the-top attempts by some drivers to boost their gas mileage could be endangering them and other motorists.
The AAA and Connecticut State Police are warning against extreme measures in "hypermiling," a practice in which unusual techniques are used to boost vehicles' mileage.
They include rolling through stop signs to avoid braking, turning off a car's engine or shifting into neutral to coast down hills, over-inflating tires to decrease rolling resistance against pavement, and other techniques.
One action that authorities say is particularly dangerous is called "drafting," tailgating big rigs in hopes of cutting wind resistance and being pulled along in a truck's wake.
"Every one of them is illegal," Connecticut State Police spokesman Trooper William Tate said of the "hypermiling" techniques.
"But more importantly, they're extremely dangerous. Every one of them is the cause of accidents," he said.
Most accidents on secondary roads are caused by drivers who don't obey traffic signals, such as stop signs or traffic lights, Tate said. Most highway crashes are caused by tailgating and unsafe lane changes, which are often related, he said.
Never underestimate the need for Americans to be assholes. As we pointed out to you last Wednesday, there's actually a guy out there who thinks he can go 51 miles an hour on the I-95 freeway and not end up being punted into a retaining wall, and he actually has the balls to tell this to a reporter while standing next to a picture of himself and his Prius.
Hey, I'm all for hybrids and getting us into different kinds of vehicles. Til we do that, we have to be conscious of the fact that the roads aren't there for social experiments and hypermiling.