Trucker Buddy International is a twenty-year old non-profit 501(©)3 company which has developed a new program called Trucking Mentors. Trucking Mentors work with teenagers to teach them safe driving techniques when near tractor/trailers on the highways with the goal of eliminating accidents and saving lives. Teenagers often don’t know how to safely maneuver around these big rig trucks. Trucking Mentors teach high school students how to safely share the road with big rig trucks.
This is a completely free program to the schools taught by professional truck drivers. There is no cost for the Trucking Mentor or the school. All participants in the Trucking Mentors program are volunteers. Drivers must hold a valid commercial driver’s license and be screened and pass a criminal background check in order to qualify to be a Trucking Mentor. This program is totally supported by donations from companies and individuals who are concerned about the safety of teenagers and other motorists on the roads. Trucking Mentors can be either local, short haul or regional drivers. Once or twice a year truck drivers visit the schools and share their trucking experiences with students. The truck driver and the high school Drivers Education teacher work together to plan the visit. The truck driver brings the tractor/trailer to school on the agreed upon date. Trucking Mentors follow a specific curriculum.
Stopping Distances: Heavy trucks don’t have the same stopping distance that cars have. The weight of a fully loaded truck and trailer can be as much as 80,000 pounds. A car by contrast weighs about 4,000 pounds. These trucks require at least twice the stopping distance of cars.
Passing: Trucking Mentors recommend passing trucks on the left. Because speeding is a major cause of accidents they recommend that drivers don’t speed. They teach that passing a tractor/trailer is very dangerous and even more dangerous than speeding on an open road. One important tip to adhere to when changing lanes is to be sure that you can see the truck in your rear view mirror before you cross over into the same lane.
They are also taught about blind spots Trucks have very large blind spots so teenagers must know how to avoid being invisible to a truck driver. Teenagers also need to know that trucks made wide turns and they need to allow for this when driving. Other tips include avoiding tailgating, being aware of cross winds and to never cut off a truck.
This course is a very valuable class for teenagers who are new drivers and have no idea as to how to drive near heavy trucks and tractor/trailers. Following these safety rules and guidelines will help teenagers avoid being in an accident with a truck and thereby save lives. Many driving schools like Sears Driving Schools offer driver education classes which include specialized training for teenagers. However, Trucking Mentors teaches teenagers specifically how to drive near heavy trucks safely.