Making the rounds is a Jalopnik entry that ostensibly explains why some truck trailers have quilted doors at the rear:
"The quilted steel stops light from reflecting directly backwards. It breaks bright reflections and angles them away from drivers."
I understand that quilted surfaces do indeed break up light, but the rationale for having these on a truck doesn't make sense to me, from a cost perspective.
The post points out that "the option can run anywhere from $800 to $1,000;" and I cynically suspect that the persons in charge of procurement for trucking companies don't care as much about the convenience of other drivers as they do about the company's bottom line. If glare was the sole issue, I imagine a judicious shade of paint would be cheaper.
So, I suspect that if they're spending $800 to $1,000 on this quilted option, it either somehow reduces costs (easier to clean/maintain than paint?) or improves performance (better insulation for refrigerated trucks?).
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It is all of the reasons; quilted metal is much stronger, looks better & hides dings and helps with reflecting light.
It is not one reason, but all of them. Quilted metal is stronger, it looks good and breaks up the light.
What's the scientific proof the author has that dark paint is superior to this quilter pattern?
I'm going to go with aesthetics over time. Trailer doors are plywood clad with a thin metal skin (or maybe Dibond). If a flat sheet of stainless steel is used every small ding jumps right out at the viewer, and even if blemishless the surface will seem (and is) wavy, especially when you see your vehicle's reflection while following. The rear doors see much abuse, and the quilting hides a host of sins. The flat metal-clad doors will appear junky and "road-weary" in very short order.
I always thought it was so you didn’t see mirror reflections at night. As in seeing something that appears to be driving toward you dead ahead. That would freak me right out.