Driving Home Dangers of Distracted Driving

High school juniors and seniors experienced the dangers of distracted and impaired driving without the actual danger during a program sponsored by the SADD Club. The club brought the international Save a Life Tour to the school to impress upon students what can happen when a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or texting behind the wheel.

This safe driving awareness program began with a presentation that included personal stories of those that lost loved ones through either distracted or impaired driving accidents. Following the presentation, students were invited to jump in the driver’s seat of highly advanced simulators set up in the mini-theater. After strapping on their seatbelts, turning the key in the ignition and putting the car in drive, these young drivers began their journeys. They started out driving well, stopping at red lights, following the speed limit and respecting the laws of the road. Then, the simulator gradually took away their control and their cars were speeding, hitting curbs, going through stop signs and red lights and often crashing. During the texting simulation, each driver was given a mobile phone and told to respond to the text messages they received. When doing so, their cars were swerving, hitting other cars and driving off the road.

“The simulation is a very sobering experience for the students, reminding them that they have no control under these circumstances,” said SADD Club Adviser Adriana Marin. She said the program, which she co-advises with Kristen Sylvan, was first at the high school two years ago, and is an important and effective tool in teaching new drivers the dangers of driving while impaired or distracted.