By John Hacker
A number of new drivers and soon-to-be new drivers at Carthage High School heard from a truck driver about how to operate a car safely around tractor trailer on highways.
Stephanie Klang, Carthage, a driver for Conway Truckload, brought the “No-Zone” trailer to her hometown on Wednesday and showed students the places where cars can be virtually invisible to a truck driver.
Klang also gave the students a chance to sit in the drivers seat of her truck so they could get an idea what it is like to try to see around 60 feet of tractor and trailer sitting about 10 feet off the ground.
“I’m an America’s Road Team Captain, where we take tractors and trailers to high schools, especially ones close to us, where the kids are getting their permits and their drivers licenses,” Klang said after speaking to students in Kelsey Stenger’s CHS class. “We try to put everyone up in the truck, so they can see exactly what the driver sees. We want them to realize the blindspots around the truck so they’re aware. Any time you can educate someone and make them more aware of what other vehicles need to do, it makes a safer road for everyone.”
About 20 students heard a presentation from Klang in the classroom before heading to the southwest corner of the CHS parking lot where Klang’s tractor, pulling a trailer painted to show the blindspots around a tractor-trailer combination, was parked.
Klang said the biggest blindspot is on the passenger’s side of the tractor trailer and runs almost the entire length of the trailer and for as many as three lanes to the right.
“We have a slight blind spot on the driver’s side, a slight blind spot in front of the truck,” Klang told the students. “We also would like drivers to leave a cushion behind us because you cannot see what’s happening in front of us when you get too close behind.”
Klang invited every student to sit in the tractor and see how she lives while on the road.
They could see that drivers can’t really see smaller vehicles immediately in front of their tractors, and that it’s hard to see traffic in the “No-Zones.”
“Trucks have a lot of no-zones, they can be very dangerous,” said CHS Freshman Mason Jones. “We should be sure to help them in any way possible. It’s good to know where they can’t see you so you can be safer while driveing your car.”
An exciting perk of getting to sit in the tractor — students got to sound the extra-loud horn on the truck, which brought smiles each of the more than a dozen times it sounded.
“It makes an impression on them and if it makes one driver safer when they get their learner’s permit or license, it’s worth it,” Klang said. “I especially like telling them now they can tell their parents how to drive.”