Web Watch was driving down the highway the other day when we were almost part of an accident waiting to happen.
The doofus in the pick-up truck in front of us ended up slamming on his brakes for some reason, which led to all of us behind him having to quickly do the same. While we had plenty of braking room in front of us under normal circumstances, he had his pickup truck tailgate down, taking away an extra foot of available brake space from our squealing tires.
Luckily, this was during the day and we could see that the tailgate was down, but if this same situation happened at night, that truck would be minus one tailgate and we would be minus one engine.
All of this got us to thinking that perennial question: WHY DO PEOPLE DRIVE WITH THEIR PICKUP TRUCK TAILGATE IN THE DOWN POSITION?
It’s all about maintaining the aerodynamic flow over the cab of the pickup. The truck designers know all about this stuff, and know that there’s an air bubble that forms in the pickup bed that helps divert that air around the vehicle. Lowering the tailgate lets that air bubble escape, causing some extra drag to be exerted onto the truck bed.
Here’s a video showing the air bubble in action:
We know what our Web Watch readers will say – that you all have evidence of your own showing that you’ve gotten your own better MPG while driving with the tailgate down. Sorry to tell you, buddy – you can’t argue with science.
Keep that tailgate up, dude. You’ll get better mileage, your truck will last longer by keeping the bed frame intact, and your insurance company will thank you for not causing unnecessary damage to the cars following you who are expecting to hit your bumper instead of an integral part of your truck.