Meridian students bring in speakers to talk about dangers of distracted and impaired driving with simulators.
One of the most important things someone can do is inform people about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving. Meridian SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) is helping out with this.
“It’s something that not a lot of people like to talk about or pretend that it’s not an issue,” SADD instructor Ms. Amato says, “We’re getting this out in the open and having that conversation. Students can be educated about it without being attacked or singled out in any way.” On Monday, April 11, the Save a Life Tour with speaker Andrew Tipton came to Meridian. This presentation showed kids how texting while driving, drunk driving, or both, can affect not only their life, but others around them.
The tour started with a video that showed how drunk/distracted driving can affect people. “To be honest, I cried a little bit,” senior Nicole Cromwell said, “but who wouldn’t when someone tells them a story like that?” The video also talked about a story of a man who was texting and driving. He ending up causing a car crash and killing two men. “It’s awful when something like that could’ve been prevented,” Cromwell adds.
The tour also brought along two simulators. One simulator showed what it’s like to text and drive. Students had to pretend to drive while their phone lit up with a text. They had to read and reply to each text while also trying to pay attention to the road and not crash.
“[If kids] don’t learn now they’ll be on the road making stupid decisions,” says sophomore SADD member Ian Carnahan about the importance of teaching students safe driving habits.
The other simulator showed what it’s like to drive drunk. The car had delayed reactions so it was hard for students to turn when they needed to or stop at the right time. “[I learned that] I’m not as good a driver as I thought I was,” Carnahan says.
The students DUI levels increased as well, which caused some of the delays to be for one second. It doesn’t seem bad at first, but once someone’s behind the wheel it gets a lot harder. “I mean, I hit a telephone pole and I wasn’t even expecting it,” Cromwell said with a laugh.
“I’m hoping that students will sort of think about things before they do them,” Amato hopes that this presentation will help kids learn about making positive choices. Students who participated in these simulators also signed a pledge to not text and drive or drive while drunk and to just make smart decisions about driving overall.
“There is that element of you want to be cool,” Cromwell says, “They’re going to be scared to call their parents or to stay the night at someone’s house because they’re drunk and they’re going to try to drive home. It’s important to realize that they shouldn’t, that they should just talk to their parents [or someone who can help.]”