Program teaches students how to drive around tractor trailers

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STAUNTON, Va (WHSV) -- Driving on an interstate can be dangerous, especially when there are a lot of tractor trailers and accidents. Students at R.E. Lee High School got a look at ways to prevent accidents with tractor trailers on Friday.

The program is called "Committed to Safety", and strives to teach young people in the Valley how to safely drive around tractors.

Students had a 40-minute classroom session about safety features on a big rig, blind spots, and showing how long it takes a tractor trailer to stop. Then the instructors took students outside in order to see it for themselves.

"I mean, the main focus is, we let them know that if you get tangled up with one of these trucks that's a battle you're never going to win in a passenger vehicle," says Matt Smith, a truck driver for Wal-Mart and the 2017 Virginia State Truck Driver of the Year. "So, you know, try to encourage them to take something from the program."

A key focus of the program was blind spots. Instructors had students climb into one of the tractors in order to see what truck drivers see when they're on the road, and then surprised them with just how little a truck driver sees.