POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – There have been many stories of drivers being impaired or distracted causing accidents.
On Monday at Poland High School, students got the chance to have a firsthand experience with this, going through simulations of texting and driving or being under the influence.
Guadalupe Gonzales is a road manager for Matrix Entertainment, a company that runs high tech entertainment, attractions and events.
Gonzales travels to schools with a simulation of distracted driving.
He started his session by asking a group of Poland High School students one question:
“But is there any text that they’ve ever received in their life that has been so important that they were willing to risk their life,” he said.
And that’s what Monday’s hands-on lesson was all about: Don’t text and drive, and don’t drink and drive.
“Your speed, your road, you surroundings — you have to do all of that and when you’re distracted or impaired that decreases your awareness of what’s going on around you,” Gonzales said.
There were two stations set up. One had a virtual reality headset to give the feeling of being drunk while you navigate through roads, make the user feel more drunk as they went.
“It was actually really difficult. I wasn’t expecting it. I crashed, like, right away,” said Zoe Simon, a Poland student.
The second station didn’t use the VR headset. It was a phone with a computer asking questions.
“So, when I looked down at the phone, and then I looked back up, and I could be going through a stop sign and then another car was coming the other way and it would hit me. So, definitely the reaction time was a lot slower,” said Lucia Perry, another student.
Some kids tried just one of the simulations.
Others gave a crack at both.
“To be honest, I feel like in a regular car, you have a little more control than that, but it was still pretty bad. It was still pretty hard to do,” said Poland student Isaac Moncilovich.
While the experience was kind of like a video game, it taught a lesson to the kids.
“‘Cause when I was texting and driving, I was looking at the phone and when I looked up, I was in the completely other lane, and I was like, ‘Oh man, this isn’t good,'” Moncilovich said. “Probably not to just do either of them.”