Expect the unexpected.

Lori Sandusky, dispatcher at Shields Asphalt Paving, says she wants all of her drivers as prepared as they can be for all possible road hazards.

That’s why Shields Asphalt Paving this year initiated an 8-hour class on defensive driving mandatory for all drivers.

The class, which was held over two days in February at the Northern Tier Regional Library, was taught by Allstate Career, a professional driving school. The curriculum came straight from the National Safety Council (NSC).

“This is a professional truck driving course addressing that unique perspective with the goal of making the road more safe for everyone,” Sandusky said. “The best thing to do is recognize the hazards before they happen.”

At the completion of the program, drivers should be able to:

  • Define personal and professional excellence as it relates to the profession of truck driving.
  • Explain the importance of driving with consideration for others in the roadway community.
  • Identify three factors that contribute to collisions:
    1. Driver
    2. Vehicle
    3. Environmental
  • Recognize their own personal responsibility to protect the motoring public and themselves.
  • Recognize personal driving tendencies, attitudes and habits.
  • Recognize hazards while driving and identify safe and legal alternate choices for dealing with different hazards.
  • Describe techniques for maximizing safety while driving.

At the completion of the program, the participants did take a final exam. Everyone received an 8 hour defensive driving certificate.

Sandusky, who does the driver hiring and managing at Shields Asphalt Paving, says the 55 CDL drivers employed there work in two types of trucks. The crew guys man water trucks, tack trucks, crew trucks, maintenance trucks, fuel trucks and tandem trucks. The other employees drive traditional tri-axles , tractors and lowboys.

These men range from 21 to 72 years old, and have no less than two years’ experience when hired. Sometimes they’ve already spent decades behind the wheel. Still, she said, everyone has room to learn.

“This is absolutely an excellent class,” said Sandusky, who also completed the program.