Trucker Buddy Launches Trucking Mentors ProgramMay 2, 2012
Though I’ve been driving for 19 years (add a few years before that, if you count driving the two-tracks behind my grandparents’ house in Michigan), only recently did I get the opportunity to ride in a big rig. Granted, it wasn’t a semi-trailer, but the 26-foot International straight truck my brother and I rented to move him back from Arizona felt like a big rig to us. Pulling out of Phoenix, we noticed right away that we sat a lot higher than the cars around us, and it took a lot longer to get up to speed and brake when we needed to come to a stop. And the surprise of looking over and realizing you’re eye-to-eye with a semi driver doesn’t wear off quickly.
That trip taught me a lot about what it’s like to drive a big truck when dozens (sometimes it felt like hundreds) of little cars are swarming around you. I remember being frustrated by these inconsiderate drivers, until I realized they were driving just like I had before I’d learned how much work it was to keep a big truck between the lines and steer clear of trouble.
Thanks to the efforts of Trucker Buddy International and their recently launched Trucking Mentors program, many high-school students will also have the opportunity to see the road from behind a big rig steering wheel. Trucking Mentors will pair experienced, professional truck drivers with high-school teachers and students in a program that shows young drivers how to avoid deadly accidents by preventing common driving mistakes. Working with the schools’ drivers ed programs, Trucking Mentors drivers will bring their trucks and trailers to school for a demonstration of common mistakes and a helpful presentation on driving an automobile safely around a big rig.
Trucker Buddy International is a 20 year old organization that has fostered pen-pal relationships between truckers and grade-school classrooms for years. Now with Trucking Mentor, Trucker Buddy provides an opportunity for drivers to put a human face on the trucking industry and help young drivers understand how to stay safe around the big rigs that share our roads.