Local News

Big rig trainers remind drivers to share the road

Posted November 25, 2009
Updated November 26, 2009

— This weekend, the roadways will be gridlocked with motorists rushing to get to their Thanksgiving destinations and big rigs making holiday deliveries.

During the busy travel reason, safety advocates remind motorists to share the road with tractor-trailers.

“They need to be patient when operating around trucks,” Ralph Clemons, vice president of safety at West Brother's Transportation Services Inc., said.

Clemons has 15 years of experience behind the wheel of a big rig. He said the relationship between truck drivers and motorists could always use improvement.

“They can make it very strenuous on you due to the way they operate,” he said.

Be mindful of big rigs on the roadways Be mindful of big rigs on the roadways

During safety classes, Clemons teaches tractor-trailer operators to drive defensively.

“You have to drive defensively, not only 80 percent, but 100 percent of the time,” he added.

Drivers at West Brother's are tested in real-time traffic situations to make sure they follow safety protocols. They are also urged to get plenty of rest and avoid distractions, such as texting while driving.

Clemons said motorists can help prevent accidents by not following too close.

“Some people think we can stop on a dime like cars can, but we cannot,” truck driver Victor Rivers said.

Clemons said it takes about 300 feet for a tractor-trailer going 60 mph to stop. He also said motorists should make room for trucks to merge into traffic.

“A lot of times, the car will not move over, (and) they will make you almost struggle to get onto the highway," he said.

Motorists should also remember that tractor-trailers have large blind spots to the right and rear of the vehicle, and smaller blind spots on the right-front corner and mid-left side.

“It can definitely be intimidating when you have one (semi-truck) on each side, and you're not sure if they can see you or not,” motorist David Hinkle said.

For more safety advice on sharing the road with truckers, visit Edmunds.com.


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  • james27613 Nov 27, 2009

    Nothing can stop on a dime.

    “Some people think we can stop on a dime like cars can, but we cannot,” truck driver Victor Rivers said.

  • pinehorse Nov 26, 2009

    I'll agree to share the road if they agree to STAY ON THE ROAD.

  • Scubagirl Nov 26, 2009

    ". So explain to me why the majority of truckers are traveling TOO fast, too close, and just plain scary! They KNOW better"

    Sure they do, I don't argue that point. But please tell me when was the last time that you intentionally left space between you and the car in front, because that's the safest thing to do, only to have some idiot in a CAR-who just has to be first-pull right into that space. When truckers, or anyone else for that matter, slow down to leave reasonable space between them and the car/vehicle in front of them; someone ALWAYS pulls into it.
    Sure there are alot of truckers out there who could do a much better job, but I'd go out on a limb to say that percentage wise it is MUCH less than the car drivers who need to do a better job.

    Happy Thanksgiving and DRIVE SAFE ya'll

  • GoGreen Nov 26, 2009

    I too find it comical that automobile drivers need to learn to cooperate with truckers and not the other way around. I hate commercial traffic. These guys drive like they own the highway. I'd like to see ALL commercial traffic required to drive 10 below posted speed.

  • ql Nov 26, 2009


    ...trucks and slower traffic
    need to learn to STAY RIGHT!

  • TomLynda Nov 26, 2009

    You are so right. I have known lots of truck drivers over the years, and it used to be that they were the Knights of the highway. But in the last 3 or so years I am seeing more and more of the truckers that are driving flat out crazy. Speeding down the road, Interstates, right on someones bumper trying to intimidate them into moving over. When I was on the Rescue Squad I had to go to many wrecks that were caused by 18 wheelers, speeding, and changing lanes unexpectantly.

    When traveling and I see a 18 wheeler driving over the speed limit, and some driving like they are drunk, I will call 911 and report them. I'll give the HP the information they need to spot them and stop them.

    When I see them trying to merge into traffic, I'll give them the room, the same as I will for 4 wheelers. I respect them, they need to respect us and stop trying to act like they own the road and try to make us move over, and they do it in all lanes.

  • shenson11162 Nov 26, 2009

    All of the posters on here can whine and complain about truckers all they want. The REALITY of the situation can be shown in government and law enforcement statistics. Every study thats done shows that somewhere between 70% and 80% (depending on the state) of accidents that involve large trucks with passenger cars are caused by the passenger car. That is a simple fact!

  • CombatMed Nov 26, 2009

    I have been in an 18 wheeler, box truck, you name it I've both been in it and driven it. It isn't as bad as some people make it out to be. However, most of the truck drivers today need to realize that if you pull up to an intersection and see any car coming down the road, do not pull out in front of them causing the car with the right of way to actually stop in the road to avoid hitting you. Come on, if I have to stop (not slow down) so you can get your trailer out of the intersection, you should have waited at the stop sign. It's like you don't even care. But we're the ones who don't share the road. Haha

  • Willie_11 Nov 26, 2009

    Ship more freight on rails.

  • busyb97 Nov 26, 2009

    Yeah..I noticed that the trainer said they teach the truck drivers all these things, and then mention how THEY need more room to stop... So explain to me why the majority of truckers are traveling TOO fast, too close, and just plain scary! They KNOW better...they know how much time it will take them to stop and where they can see, yet they drive just as bad as anyone on the road. There are good drivers, but unfortunately, the bad ones are too frequent.