Share the Road Program aims to keep teens safe on the roadways
Some Siouxland teens say the scariest part of learning to drive is driving on the highways near semis. In early June, some drivers education students at West High School got a hands-on learning experience to help ease their fears.
“They asked them when they got here how many were scared to drive around these big trucks and several of them raised their hands,” said Chris Engel, Sioux City Community Schools Drivers Ed Teacher. These students are learning safety is a priority when it comes to driving. They are also getting the chance to see first hand what truck drivers see when they’re on the roads.
“There are blind spots and so they can’t really see you but, if they were to, like, stop quick then we wouldn’t know and so, like, that could cause a crash,” said Lakenya McCray, a drivers ed student. The Share the Road program is working to keep new drivers safe on the roadways, but instructors say they are passing along information all drivers can learn from.
“Our main focus is to let them know that we have four large blind spots around tractor trailers, the largest one being on the right side. We prefer for no one to pass us on the right side. Whenever possible pass us on the driver’s side,” said Bill West, Share the Road Program. It’s a lesson teens say is keeping them safe.
“We know what not to do and what we can do to help both of us stay safe on the road,” says Gabriel Vasquez.
Officials with the Share the Road Program says they want all drivers to know the alarming statistics when it comes to accidents involving vehicles and semi trucks.
“Almost 80 percent of accidents involving tractor-trailers and a regular automobile is the fault of the automobile,” says West. It’s an experience with lessons for everyone. “The truck drivers really kind of have their safety in mind also, so if they can work together, you know, both vehicles can operate on the road safely,” said Engel.
Some of the teens at West High say they now have a lot more confidence and know exactly where those blind spots are for truck drivers.
The Share the Road Program says they also plan to visit North and East High schools to educate teen drivers.