February 16, 2023
Submitted by: Don MacDonald, CCA Truck Driver Training Ltd.
We have all seen them out there on the roads. The slow moving vehicle with the dreaded “Student Driver” signs on them. It seems, for most people, the natural response to this sighting is to step hard on the fuel pedal and get out around those vehicles. People tend to feel driver training vehicles are a nuisance on the road. Sometimes, I don’t necessarily disagree with that theory. I will agree, it is somewhat annoying when a traffic light turns green and the driver in front of you is still trying to decide if it is safe or not to go.
Learning to drive is a big step in a person’s life. Whether it is a beginner with a Class 7 learning to drive a car, or someone who has had a Class 5 for decades and then decides to upgrade to a Class 1. The truth is, it can be a daunting task for anyone.
I’m sure most of us can still remember when we got our license. Quite some time ago for some of us. Times have changed since then. Pursuing a driver’s license, no matter what class, is much more challenging today than it was back then. The population has grown a great deal, adding more vehicles on the roadways. Vehicles get up to speed much faster, meaning a lot of drivers are choosing to travel on the roads a little faster too! There is more regulatory signage, as well as different types of traffic control devices, including the infamous traffic circles.
Driver education is key today. As I mentioned, some of the newer challenges of today, most people of age did not properly learn to use them. Most people learned to deal with them. Because of this, it is getting less safe for Mom and Pop to try and teach their kids to drive. When people decide to upgrade to a commercial licence, this process is also challenging. By this time people have developed bad habits, which we often don’t realize we have until a trained professional instructor gets in the vehicle and points them out.
Some things to remember while sharing the roads with driver training vehicles:
- Give them extra space. These individuals are learning to drive, they do not have the experience and familiarity with the vehicle that they are driving.
- Refrain from pulling up close behind the vehicle. Students worry about rolling backwards when having to start off from a traffic light, giving them extra space helps ease some of this stress. A helpful tip: If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, the driver can’t see you.
- Resist the urge to speed by and pull in front of the vehicle. Even though you may feel there is plenty of room, student drivers are learning, they don’t always have an accurate judgment for distance needed to stop. This could result in a panic stop, affecting the traffic behind them, or worse, they may not come to a stop resulting in a rear end collision that could have been prevented if someone had been a little more patient.
You may notice a driver training vehicle make a mistake out on the road. This happens from time to time. Remember, they are learning, you learn from mistakes, within reason that is. We aren’t going to let them be reckless, but sometimes we have to let them take the lead, and once in a while they make mistakes we have to correct. It may be surprising, but truck driver training vehicles are not equipped with dual steering or brake controls. This means instructors have to rely on the student to react to their commands.
One more thing to keep in mind. The next driver training vehicle that you see or may want to pass and pull in front of, that individual just might be on a Government Road test. It’s very unfortunate when a motorist’s poor judgment or lack of consideration for student drivers puts them in a situation where they have to react to the other motorists’ bad habits, and could potentially end up causing them to fail their road test. Ultimately, leading them to spend hundreds of more dollars to retest.
I ask you kindly, please give the student drivers the respect and space on the road they deserve.