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About the Program

Over the past 10 years, a team of large truck safety experts and commercial motor vehicle drivers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) developed and implemented a safety education and outreach program on how to safely drive around large trucks.

Did you know? Over 75% of crashes and near-crashes involving heavy vehicles are primarily caused by car drivers! Clearly, we have a problem here that needs to be addressed.

The Sharing the Road with Large Trucks program was developed by a team of large truck safety experts from VTTI. The creation of this outreach program was in response to research performed by VTTI's Division of Freight, Transit, & Heavy Vehicle Safety that found car drivers initiated 78% of incidents involving heavy trucks. Increasing car driver knowledge and training on how to safely interact with large trucks on our roadways can reduce these incidents. This program reaches thousands of individuals across the country each year.

Students Reached Since Program Inception

While this website was originally intended for young drivers obtaining their driver's license for the first time, all drivers can benefit from reviewing the material and scenarios to ensure they are sharing the road with large trucks properly in their everyday driving.

Many of the video clips shown on this website are taken from real-world driving events that occurred during a naturalistic driving study conducted by VTTI. Truck drivers were recruited to participate in the study, with cameras and sensors recording their day-to-day driving activities and interactions.

Some video clips were produced on the Virginia Smart Roads test track located at VTTI. The screenshots, from VTTI's Commercial Training and Prototyping Simulator, provide over-head images to give the entire perspective of a driving conflict unfolding. This enables researchers to provide examples of scenarios that couldn't be supplied by the naturalistic driving study.

How to Share the Road with Large Trucks

For each scenario highlighted below, we provide an example of improper road sharing behavior, along with an explanation of what occurred and what the car driver did wrong. Where possible, we include examples of proper road sharing behavior, along with some useful tips to help you drive safely when sharing the road with large trucks.

The five key strategies for sharing the road with large trucks addressed on this website are:

We hope that viewing these road-sharing scenarios gives you a better understanding and appreciation of the difficulties faced by truck drivers on the road every day. By practicing proper and safe road sharing behavior, you can make truck drivers' jobs easier and safer and reduce the likelihood of finding yourself in a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation involving a large truck.

In addition to this website, VTTI has a team of researchers who visit driver's education programs, schools, and other community events to conduct in-class discussions and hands-on demonstrations. All program participants have the opportunity to sit in the driver's seat of a tractor-trailer and see first-hand what a truck driver can and cannot see out the roadway. Studies have shown that kinesthetic learning (learning by doing) is a great benefit for retaining knowledge.

If you are interested in more information, please contact us.