A company in West Virginia is traveling to high schools across the state this week, allowing students to climb inside a real semi truck to help them better understand a trucker’s field of view, blind spots and all.
The demonstration is a part of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s “Share the Road” program, a project funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, reported the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
During the program, students are taught lessons on safe driving around semi trucks and are even allowed to sit in the driver’s seat of a real tractor trailer with tents and cones set out around the big rig acting as makeshift motorists, letting the students see firsthand how easily a four-wheeler could go unnoticed, even by the most careful of truckers.
“It shows the lack of visibility a truck driver actually has when he’s in the truck,” said Scott Tidwell, one of the instructors of the program.
“Honestly, I’ve been around trucks before, but never in the driver’s seat,” said Vaughn Thacker, a senior at Princeton Senior High School, the most recent stop on the program’s tour.
“I never realized just how many blind spots there were. A lot of people, especially my age, treat trucks like any other vehicle; but in the truck, there could be a smaller vehicle 200 feet behind you, and you won’t be able to see it.”
“You really couldn’t see anything at all in the back,” added MacKenzi Hughes, a junior at Princeton Senior High School.
“I’ll probably stay back from them or pass them from now on.”
“One big misconception is whenever there’s a crash, it’s always the fault of the tractor-trailer,” added Matt Camden, another instructor with the program.
“But almost 80 percent of the time, it’s the fault of the light vehicle’s driver.”
The “Share the Road” program is scheduled to make a total of 25 stops across West Virginia this year, educating high school age students across the state.