July 31st, 2013
Truck Smart and Drive To Stay AliveZero Fatalities, by Sarah Stephenson.
Drive to Stay Alive and Truck Smart are brought to you by UDOT’s Motor Carrier Division. These two programs have the same goal of addressing drivers safety but to two different audiences. The Truck Smart program focuses on helping drivers develop a healthy respect for large trucks and buses while the Drive to Stay Alive program encourages good safety habits among truck drivers. Both campaigns were started almost five years ago but were recently revitalized with a new website containing pamphlets and program information on safe driving.
Truck Smart is a program that serves to remind the motoring public of the importance of driving safely around large trucks. Jim Phillips, Utah’s Motor Carrier Training Coordinator said, “Statistically 75% of drivers and big rigs that are involved in an accident, the driver of the automobile is to blame.”
The newly revitalized Truck Smart website contains driver education information including a student workbook where new drivers can learn how to safely drive with trucks on the road. The site emphasizes four different aspects of driving with trucks that are important to remember while driving:
1. Know the “No Zone”
- It’s important for drivers to remember that the front, back and sides of trucks are all “no Zones,” or blindspots, for truck drivers. When a person is “Camping out” in these zones the driver cannot see you.
2. Don’t Cut Off Trucks
- Always give trucks enough room and never cut them off because their stopping distance is not the same as a smaller vehicle.
3. Stopping Distances
- Trucks always need more time to stop than cars. Be careful when passing and make sure to never cut them off.
4. Wide Turns
- Trucks have a higher center of gravity and therefore need more room to make turns. Never try to squeeze past a truck in order to turn because you might just get hit as well.
Drive to stay alive is a program centered around truck drivers, and their passengers to remind all parties of safe driving habits while on the road. The program was primarily for truck drivers but the rules and safety tips apply to all.
Safe driving tips include:
You are drowsy driving if:
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelid
- Trouble remembering the last few miles driven
- Repeated yawning
- Trouble keeping your head up
- Drifting, tailgating, or hitting shoulder rumble strip
- Restlessness and irritability
Slowing down, don’t speed
- Driving too fast can put your life at risk as well as the lives of those around you. Slowing down can make all the difference between a major or a minor accident.
Seat Belt Safety
Always buckle up. Period.
The Truck Smart team makes presentations to schools around the state. A presentation was recently given at Westlake High School where 70 student drivers were instructed on the importance of being “Truck Smart” while driving and how to “Drive to Stay Alive.”
Phillips summarized the education approach as following the same example of the “Buckle Up” program. Children were encouraged in grade schools to buckle up while driving. It’s the same idea with the “No Zone”, kids go home and tell their parents to buckle up or be Truck Smart and less accidents happen.
The division of Motor Carriers will be at the The Great Salt Lake Truck Show August 16-17 at Thanksgiving point. A booth about Truck Smart and Drive to Stay Alive will be on display with pamphlets and further information.
Drive To Stay Alive: http://www.udot.utah.gov/drivetostayalive/