New Trailer Skirt Improves Appearance of Big Rigs
One of the newest strategies to comply with new legislative mandates requiring better fuel mileage on big rigs is to add trailer skirts. One example is the new Air Slipper Side Skirts that are not only aerodynamically designed, but sleek and very affordable as well. In fact, they often pay for themselves in a very short amount of time since as much as 7% off fuel costs can be expected, especially on long hauls.
The way this works is that air flow that usually collects under the trailer causing drag redirected around the trailer rather than under it. This prevents air from hitting the under-structure of the trailer at the rear. Adding skirts not only reduces drag and swaying, but also stabilizes the trailer. The result is a smoother ride as well as a significant reduction in operating costs.
The skirts are made of 16-guage ribbed aluminum or plastic and are made to fit most trailer types. Strength is added with ribs and bottom roll-formed edges. Despite the design, it is not necessary to drill holes in the trailer frame making it easy to install with very little downtime. This also ensures that, for those that lease trailers, there is hassle-free lease turn-in. The Air Slipper Side Skirts also come with an optional reefer fuel tank.
There are many benefits to adding skirts besides reducing fuel costs and drag. One unexpected benefit is that, because the trailer is more stable, it also reduces driver fatigue. The swaying of trailers in windy conditions can cause drivers to fight the truck, but with added stability and reduced sway this is no longer a problem making driving much more pleasant.
California is one state that will require side skirts and factory installed low rolling resistance tires by 2013. These and other federally mandated laws, although initially costly for owners/operators, will ultimately enhance the appearance of the truck as well as save drivers a great deal of money and effort. It turns out that some changes in the trucking industry may actually be good for drivers in the long run.