Upstate students learn potential dangers of distracted driving

Last updated: 10-26-2019

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Upstate students learn potential dangers of distracted driving

Upstate students are learning the dangers of distracted driving through hands-on simulations. Various stations were set up at Chapman High School, showing students how easily and quickly it is to get into an accident while driving distracted.One of the simulations takes students behind the wheel with a pair of goggles designed to give them a view as if they were intoxicated. As the students drive down the road, they are told to pull out their phone or change the radio station. Many students were unable to safely continue driving while their focus was drawn elsewhere."I don’t see why people drink and drive, because seeing it now, it’s not a cool thing to do," junior Zahkai McCloud said. "You really can’t see anything, and you could actually kill someone. That’s pretty dangerous."The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts attention from driving. Talking to people in the car, fiddling with the radio or another electronic device, putting on makeup, eating and drinking are all included in potential distractions. State troopers said it can be difficult to assign accountability or blame to distractions for crashes, because many times, drivers won't admit that they were driving distracted. There are three types of distracted driving: visual, physical and cognitive. Officials said texting and driving, one of the most alarming distractions per the NHTSA, utilizes all three types of distracted driving.“The most dangerous time of a teen’s life is the first year they’re licensed," said Melissa Reck, the training and development coordinator with the Southeastern chapter of the National Safety council. "That’s when they’re most likely to get into a collision. "While we can have a good time learning about these different distractions, it really is something serious that could happen to them or their loved ones, as well.”

Upstate students are learning the dangers of distracted driving through hands-on simulations. Various stations were set up at Chapman High School, showing students how easily and quickly it is to get into an accident while driving distracted.

One of the simulations takes students behind the wheel with a pair of goggles designed to give them a view as if they were intoxicated. As the students drive down the road, they are told to pull out their phone or change the radio station. Many students were unable to safely continue driving while their focus was drawn elsewhere.

"I don’t see why people drink and drive, because seeing it now, it’s not a cool thing to do," junior Zahkai McCloud said. "You really can’t see anything, and you could actually kill someone. That’s pretty dangerous."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts attention from driving. Talking to people in the car, fiddling with the radio or another electronic device, putting on makeup, eating and drinking are all included in potential distractions.

State troopers said it can be difficult to assign accountability or blame to distractions for crashes, because many times, drivers won't admit that they were driving distracted.

There are three types of distracted driving: visual, physical and cognitive. Officials said texting and driving, one of the most alarming distractions per the NHTSA, utilizes all three types of distracted driving.

“The most dangerous time of a teen’s life is the first year they’re licensed," said Melissa Reck, the training and development coordinator with the Southeastern chapter of the National Safety council. "That’s when they’re most likely to get into a collision. "While we can have a good time learning about these different distractions, it really is something serious that could happen to them or their loved ones, as well.”


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