Teen drivers experience distracted driving simulation

ALYX BAYSINGER demonstrates how the texting while driving program works on the simulator.

Students at Woonsocket High School have been learning what the consequences of distracted driving actually feel like.
A driving simulator has been brought to the science classroom to show the kids what can happen if they text and drive or drive impaired. The simulator is about as real as it can get. It looks like you’re at the controls of a real car and feels very similar to driving one, according to one of the student drivers, Alyx Baysinger.
Three screens give the drive a nearly 180 degree view, such as they would have out of a windshield. The simulator can be set up for different situations, such as texting while driving, where the it actually sends the driver text messages and gives the driver texts messages to send, based on directions from the “passengers.” It also has a setting for impaired or intoxicated driving and for simply driving while distracted.
“It’s a real eye-opener,” says Supt. Rod Weber of how realistic the simulator is. The simulator sets up real-life situations both in town and on the highway, with items that must be dodged, deer running across the road and trucks that don’t move over when entering the road from an on-ramp.
The school was able to borrow the simulator for just $100. Grants paid for the rest of the expenses of the program, which is from the Sioux Empire Safety Village of Sioux Falls and is a collaboration between them and Vern Eide Motorcars and the Volunteers for America Dakotas.
Their mission is “to create safety awareness, promote life safety skills, and provide injury prevention education and training through a community-wide partnership for the benefit of all.”

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