Skid Pad

By: Nick LaFave
By: Nick LaFave

Terry Braginton and Rick Offerson are the two instructors behind "The Michigan Center for Decision Driving." Every day they teach truck drivers how to stay safe on the roads.

Drills include controlled stopping, perception and reaction and jacknifing.

Controlled stopping has drivers hitting half speed, then coming to a calm, straight stop after hitting a simulated red light. But, the course is wet, and sometimes the trucks lose control.

But, the instructors say it's important to show the drivers how easy it is to lose control, so they know what to avoid so they don't lose control on the 'real' roads.

In perception and reaction, the drivers are told which of two different lanes to turn into... but, they're told just 70 feet before they hit the 'intersection.'

In jacknifing, the drivers put their trucks into the jacknife, and are instructed how to get out of it safely.

The instructors say 'time and distance' are the two most important things they teach the drivers. That it takes both 'time and distance' to avoid situations... and get out of them.

The class is not required... but, every driver we spoke to said their eyes were opened at the ease with which they can lose control. Many say these types of courses should be required by employers before truckers can take the roads.


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