Blacksburg students learning truck safety tips

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 5:09 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute says nearly 80 percent of all wrecks and close calls involving tractor trailers are caused by other drivers.

To help lower that statistic, the Transportation Institute is teaching some of the youngest drivers on the road some tips to keep everyone safe. Oct. 31, Blacksburg High School students saw first-hand how dangerous truckers’ blind spots can be.

“We brought our tractor trailer out to the high school,” VTTI’s Matt Camden said.

According to Camden, trucks have four major blind spots: In the front, to the right, to the left and in the rear.

“It definitely makes me think about how I need to keep myself back and keep myself restrained from staying too close to the truck and staying in their blind spots,” BHS sophomore Icarus Barnard said.

Researchers at VTTI are trying to find ways to make roads safer. Putting students in the simulated drivers seat is one way to do so.

“At the end of the day, if you’re going to crash with a truck, regardless of who’s at fault, the light vehicle just loses, right?” VTTI’s Mark Golusky said. “It’s just physics; the bigger truck always wins. It doesn’t care who’s at fault.”

VTTI reminds drivers to stay out of a trucks’ blind spots.

“When you’re going to pass a truck, always pass it on the left,” Golusky said. “It’s the smallest blind spot, it’s the safest place to be. “If you pass a truck on the right, the majority of the time that you would be on the right side of a truck, the driver will not see it.”

“The most dangerous no-zone is on the right side, it’s the biggest area where that truck driver can’t see,” Camden said. it can go three lanes to the right and can go the entire length of that tractor trailer. There’s also a long-nose zoom back behind the truck, and it can go up to 200 feet back.

Students say this lesson can prove to be lifesaving on the highway.

“Since I have my learner’s permit, I just am learning that trucks are really dangerous and that I need to really make sure that I’m careful around them and that I need to keep a lot more distance than I thought I did,” Barnard said.