A recent Virginia Tech Transportation Research Institute study found that 78 percent of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles were caused by passenger vehicle drivers. These crashes and fatalities occur due to a lack of awareness and understanding about the special considerations involved with driving a truck. For example, according to the American Trucking Associations, roughly one-third of fatal crashes involving a car and a large truck occurred in one of the blind spots surrounding the truck.
Join DRIVE SMART Virginia as we deliver Share the Road education to teens in high schools and colleges around Virginia. Together, we can share an important message that has the power to decrease the number of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles each year.
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Did you know it takes the length of an entire football field for a fully loaded large truck to come to a complete stop when going at least 55 mph? Teens can greatly decrease their risk of collisions involving trucks or buses by learning special considerations about driving safely with these vehicles. Follow the DRIVE SMART Virginia Game Plan to learn how to play fair with some of the road’s biggest players.
After passing a large truck and before returning to the lane in front of the truck, use your turn signal to let the driver know you are moving. Make sure you can see the entire front of the truck and its wheels in your rearview mirror before you move lanes. When a truck is entering or exiting a roadway, you should adjust your speed and spacing to help the truck driver merge safely.
When traveling beside or behind a large truck that is turning right or left, be careful. A truck often swings wide in the opposite direction of the turn causing a partially or fully blocked path of travel. Don’t creep past stop lines. Stop lines at intersections are designed to indicate where cars should stop to allow trucks the maximum turning space to complete a turn safely.
Trucks and buses have areas where the driver is unable to see you. Those areas are located to the immediate front and rear, as well as in certain locations on either side of the truck. Steer clear of blind spots to help make sure truck and bus drivers are aware of you at all times. One third of crashes with a large truck occur in a truck’s blind spot.
The Front No-Zone may extend up to 20 feet in front of the truck and may hide a vehicle from the truck driver’s view. Truckers are trained to leave a minimum 3-second space between their truck and the car in front of them. Cutting in front of a truck or bus is never a good idea. Here’s why: it takes the length of an entire football field for a fully loaded large truck to come to a complete stop when going at least 55 mph.
The Rear No-Zone: A truck’s driver cannot see you if you are too closely following the truck. You should be able to see the truck’s side mirrors when you are driving behind it.
The Left Side No-Zone extends from the driver’s door to the middle of the trailer. Do not “hang out” on the side of the truck. Move through steadily, and look for the driver’s face in the mirror. This is an indication that the driver may be able to see you as you pass the left side of the vehicle.
The Right Side No-Zone is the largest and most dangerous blind side on a truck. It extends the length of the right side and as many as three lanes to the right of the truck. Watch the signal light on a truck when you are traveling on the right side. This may warn you if the truck is moving in your direction and may also indicate that the driver does not know that you are there. Again, move through steadily, and look for the driver’s face in the mirror.
Don’t like driving around large trucks and buses? Statistics show that it is actually truck and bus drivers who should be concerned. 78% of crashes involving large trucks and buses are caused by passenger vehicles. These drivers are professionals; some have driven millions of miles without a single crash. Help trucks, buses, and everyone get where they want to go safely by sharing the road.
Commit to making the road a safer place for yourself, your passengers, and truck and bus drivers. Sign Our Pledge.
Welcome to DRIVE SMART Virginia's Sharing the Road with Trucks curriculum. These resources are designed to help you teach your driver education students how to safely share the road with large commercial vehicles.
We would like to thank our partners at the Virginia Department of Education, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Virginia Trucking Association, and the Virginia State Police for their assistance in creating this curriculum.
We hope our efforts will help you deliver effective, high-quality instruction on this very important traffic safety concept. DRIVE SMART Virginia values driver literacy and is pleased to have this opportunity to partner with the driver education teachers in Virginia!
Please note that the PowerPoint has embedded video clips. The video clips will need to be downloaded onto your hard drive and placed in the same folder as the PowerPoint. The "Embedded Video Clips" PDF file also provides instructions on how best to save these videos. Most of the curriculum files are offered in either a PDF or Microsoft Word document format.
Please join our effort to commit to safely share the road with trucks and buses, and help reduce the number of crashes and fatalities that occur each year.
DRIVE SMART Virginia understands the importance of supporting families by providing parents, teens and teachers the tools that they need to help teens develop good driving behaviors. Visit DRIVE SMART University to learn more.