The Herald Bulletin

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June 13, 2013

PHHS driving students learn to 'Share the Road'

Program focuses attention on tractor-trailers' blind spots

PENDLETON — Just because you can see them doesn't mean they can see you.

Anyone who's taken a driver's education course has likely heard a line similar to this about truckers' blind spots, but Pendleton Heights High School's 17 driver's education students got to see those tricky spots in the mirrors themselves Thursday morning during "Share the Road."

The program, sponsored by Greencastle's Walmart and offered to schools at no charge, gives students interactions with the store's semi drivers and a hands-on lesson about the safety of sharing the road.

"It's something they'll have to do for the rest of their lives," driver Michael Toole added.

While teaching students how to drive alongside semis, he said they touch on topics such as the dangers of driving alongside a tractor trailer for an extended period of time with the potential of tire blowouts and the longer length of time it takes for a tractor-trailer to stop.

Knowing many of the kids will soon be driving to Hamilton Town Center to go shopping and see movies, driving instructor Tony Candiano said he just wants the students to learn to be safe around semis they'll see on the interstate.

Pendleton high schooler Clay Miller said they'd practiced driving on I-69 just the day before and spotted numerous tractor-trailers.

"I was nervous before," he said of sharing the road with semis. "Now that I know more about the blind spots I'm not as nervous."

Alexa Douglas said they got to "see what (the semi drivers) can't see," and it wasn't what she expected.

The drivers' greatest blind spot is on the right side, and if it's raining, it's even more difficult to spot a vehicle trying to pass. That's why, Toole said, drivers should always pass on the left and turn their headlights on in the rain.

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