Fox Meadow Students Learn about Safe Driving

Pictured above: Fox Meadow High School student takes a virtual drive home, using Westchester County’s drunk driving simulator. The simulator was brought to the campus by the county Department of Public Safety.

Fox Meadow High School students were given two tests Monday that teachers hoped they would fail.

In the first exercise, they were asked to walk a straight line with one foot in front of the other. Every student failed miserably. But they weren’t intoxicated. They were wearing “drunk vision” googles that simulate what it is like to be under the influence of alcohol.

Next, they were asked to take a virtual drive home in a video game-like driving simulator. During that test, participants went off the road, lurched and narrowly escaped crashing into guardrails and road signs. In the simulation, they also drove too slowly on the highway and too quickly on local roads. In short, their judgement was greatly affected.

Both tests were meant to help students understand how alcohol, marijuana or other drugs can impair your ability to drive safely.

“It was fun and eye-opening,” said one student. “I didn’t think driving drunk would be as hard as it was until I tried it on the simulator. It shows that you shouldn’t drink and drive.”

The simulations were made available at Fox Meadow during Prevention Day, a day devoted to educating students about the dangers of impaired driving and to promoting positive decision making. In addition to the two tests, students had the chance to see what happens to a car after a serious crash and to have their picture taken in a photo booth with positive slogans printed on the photo.

“We wanted to offer some serious exhibits and something fun to bring home the message that driving while impaired is dangerous,” said Mary Ann Flatley, student assistance counselor. “We also wanted to dispel some of the myths around drinking and driving or getting high and driving.”

For example, many high school students believe that driving while under the influence of marijuana is not a serious risk. However, Flatley explained to students that marijuana, opiates and alcohol are all depressants. “They all affect decision making, coordination, reaction time and concentration – all essential skills for driving,” she said.