Cape driver ed students learn to share the road with trucks

April 19, 2024

The Sharing the Road with Trucks program and its staff from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conduct safety demonstrations that teach strategies to help drivers safely interact with large trucks. It also provides participants with the opportunity to see a semi-truck up close and experience its large blind spots from the driver’s seat.

Students at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes took part in demonstrations held March 18 and 19, sponsored by State Farm agents Jeanine O’Donnell and Ron Krajewski.

The program was developed by a team of large-truck safety experts from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in response to research that found passenger vehicle drivers initiated 78% of incidents involving large trucks. Increasing driver knowledge and training on how to safely interact with large trucks on all roadways can reduce these incidents. The program reaches thousands of individuals across the country each year.

Students who participated learned five tips to safely share the road with large trucks:

• Don’t hang out in the No-Zone - The size and height of a truck creates four significant blind spots, aka No-Zones, around the truck that other drivers should avoid whenever possible. 
• Do maintain a safe following distance - The rear blind spot is located directly behind the truck trailer and extends nearly 200 feet, more than half a football field.
• Do pass properly - Always pass on the driver’s side, as that is the smallest blind spot another driver can move through; make sure not to linger alongside the truck.
• Don’t cut it short - Always look for the entire front of the truck in the rearview mirror before moving back over into its lane. This will give the truck driver enough room (about 100 feet) and time to react as needed. 
• Don’t get squeezed - Never try to pass a turning truck. When preparing to turn right, a truck driver needs to first swing wide to the left, sometimes briefly moving into the left lane, to get their trailer around the corner safely. 

Since 2017, VTTI and the Sharing the Road with Trucks program have reached six states, with 260 visits conducted and more than 34,000 students educated.

“Over the past 30 years, we've done a lot of research to identify contributing factors to heavy vehicle crashes,” said Matt Camden, team leader for VTTI’s Research to Practice and Outreach group. “This program puts those lessons learned into practice, so we can teach everyone what we know about these types of crashes and what causes them, which ultimately leads to a future of safer drivers.”

Camden and VTTI researchers Mark Golusky and Scott Tidwell lead the Sharing the Road team that travels to high schools across the mid-Atlantic to provide engaging learning opportunities for new teen drivers.

“Motor vehicle crashes of this nature are increasing, and the Share the Road program is a great learning experience to help decrease these instances,” said State Farm agent Jeanine O’Donnell. “So, it was a no-brainer for State Farm to partner with VTTI and the Sharing the Road program to bring awareness and education around this topic to our community. We continue to stay strongly committed to doing everything we can to reduce crashes and help save lives.”

For more information or to schedule a visit with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the Sharing the Road program, email

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