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Learning to share the road with those big rigs

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More than 3,000 car crashes in Oklahoma each year are between cars and semi-trucks. 80 percent of the time, the driver of the car is at fault. That's why a new campaign is teaching drivers the seven deadly mistakes they make around big rigs.

As News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains, educated people are more likely to survive the drive.

If you think there are a lot of big rigs on the roads right now, just wait. The number is expected to double in the next 10 years. That means the number of people killed in crashes between cars and tractor trailers will go up, unless something is done to turn the tide.

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office's most recent stats show 3,294 crashes between cars and semis in 2002. 110 people died, the majority of them, 78, were in the cars.

"We get in blind spot to shade the sun in our eyes, we follow too close or do drafting and a lot of people lose their lives that way.” Randy Yount with Survive the Ride, is a former truck driver and police officer who's seen too many fatal accidents that could've been prevented and decided to do something about it. So he created a nine-minute videotape to educate drivers about how to be safer around big-rigs. “In perfect conditions at 55 miles per hour, it takes a loaded semi the length of a football field or 300 feet to stop. If you get stuck between one that's slowing down and one that needs to stop, you're a sandwich."

Randy says the seven deadly mistakes drivers make are driving in a trucker's blind spot, following too close, drafting behind the truck, going too fast or too slow, passing, not understanding a truck's wide turns and stacking.

He acknowledges truck drivers can also be bullies and says if you see one, report them, because being safe is a team effort. Survive the Drive wants to educate 400,000 drivers in the next six months.

There will be a big kick-off at the Bartlesville Community Center next Friday at 7:30 PM where everyone will receive a free videotape. Survive the Drive is a non-profit agency that accepts donations. You can get more information at its web site.
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