Campaign educates on sharing the road with big rigs

In Alexandria Saturday, both kids and adults got to hop up and sit in the cab of a tractor trailer as part of the "Share the Road" campaign.

Kathy Stewart,

WASHINGTON – In Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood Saturday, both kids and adults got to hop up and sit in the cab of a tractor trailer.

Five year- old R.J. Davis couldn’t wait for his turn. His reaction: “It’s cool.”

The truck is part of the “Share the Road” campaign, a highway safety community outreach program, says Elisabeth Barna, vice president of strategic planning for the American Trucking Associations.

The aim is “to try and educate the public about sharing the road with large trucks,” she says.

Besides the truck’s major blind spots, Barna says it takes a tractor-trailer that is carrying a full-load the entire length of a football field plus the end zones to stop.

By getting to sit in the cab, the program allows people to see first-hand what truck drivers can and cannot see while on the road.

Jeff Wade is one of the American Trucking Associations’ elite drivers. He says some people are a little skeptical about the blind spots.

But then he says, “As soon as they sit in that truck and see what we’re talking about it’s like the light bulb goes off and they say, I had no idea.”

Wade’s been driving a truck for more than 30 years and has nearly a million and a-half accident free miles. He says it’s an honor to be educating people and in the process saving lives.

Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)