Tractor trailers and other large commercial motor vehicles are a vital, important part of our nation’s economy. These vehicles are the “wheels of commerce” for our nation. While truck drivers do contribute to some traffic crashes, research shows that too many drivers of passenger cars, especially young people ages 17 to 24 years old, unnecessarily endanger themselves by failing to recognize that trucks and cars differ in their handling characteristics. As a result, nearly 70% of traffic crashes involving large trucks and passenger cars are the fault of the car driver.
Teens and Parents
What you need to know
Whether you are attending driving school or already have your license, this is only the start of lifelong education in driving safety. Depending on the driving program you took you know there is a lot more to driving than sitting behind the wheel and turning the key.
Teens are much more likely to be involved in crashes than the general population.
Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death worldwide among young people aged 10-24 years. Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world’s roads – on average more than 1,000 a day. (World Health Organization)
There are a few things even that class didn’t tell you and that is…
While truck drivers do contribute to some traffic crashes, research shows that too many drivers of passenger cars, especially young people ages 17 to 24 years old, unnecessarily endanger themselves by failing to recognize that trucks and cars differ in their handling characteristics.
As a result, nearly 70% of traffic crashes involving large trucks and passenger cars are the fault of the car driver.
While there is no substitute for actual on-the-road driver training, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming a statistic. Knowing the facts and talking about safe driving practices with your parents and friends is very important. This is especially true when it comes to driving around large trucks and buses. So it is important to understand these vehicles and the difference in their handling characteristics compared to passenger cars.
Here’s a little advice that could come in handy.
Tips for Sharing the Road
- Don’t Cut Off Trucks. Total stopping distance is very different for a large truck than a passenger car. So know that cutting it close with a truck can cut your life short.
- Stay Out of the Truck’s Blind Spots/NO Zones. Trucks have very large blind spots. Do not stay in a truck’s blind spots.
- Keep a Safe Distance. While it is never safe to tailgate any vehicle on the highway, following too close is particularly dangerous around large trucks and buses because the size of these vehicles prevents you from seeing the road ahead and having sufficient time to react to slowing or stopped traffic or another obstacle.
- Trucks Make Wide Turns. Because of their large size, remember that a truck making a right turn may first swing left to clear the corner. Conversely, a truck making a left turn may first swing right to clear vehicles and other objects on its left side. Expect this and be prepared!
Parents who are interested in obtaining the course materials directly are welcome to download course materials which include a lesson plan, student workbook and handouts and view the instructional video.
Educators, Health & Public Safety Organizations and Advocates
Integrate Teens & Trucks into your outreach efforts and driving programs
Most driver’s education classes generally offer very little information specifically about how to drive around commercial vehicles. It’s no wonder teens driving today may not know about the NO Zone -- the large “blind spots” a commercial vehicle has -- or how trucks and buses require a greater distance to stop than a passenger car. These are just a few examples. To help teens truly recognize the differences we need to educate them.
The Teens & Trucks program is specifically designed to easily integrate into existing driver's education programs. They can be taught by any instructor, and can also be used as a stand-alone program for teens in high schools, parent-teacher organizations, community groups or other interested organizations.
The Teens & Trucks Program:
- Includes instructor's manual, student workbook, and video.
- Is provided free of charge through a federally-funded grant by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Is available to order online. To receive materials, please register online.