Last week, the Arrive Alive Tour hit the upper school campus to teach students about the dangers of distracted driving, namely driving while sending text messages. Using a VR simulator, students sat behind the wheel of an SUV and attempted to send text messages while driving down a busy road. Students would almost immediately find themselves swerving to maintain their course, rarely remaining able to drive for more than a few seconds without crashing in the simulator.
Although there was also a simulator that mimicked the effects of alcohol on drivers’ motor skills, texting and driving was a more pressing concern for Harker students. “I think most young people today have a pretty good grasp of the fact that drinking and driving is illegal and dangerous, but not a lot of people in general I think take cell phone use behind the wheel of a car seriously,” said Patrick Sheehy, one of the Arrive Alive representatives visiting the campus. “If you look around on the road, people are texting and driving everywhere you look.”
Arrive Alive is a project of Unite Corp., a health and wellness organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., which holds events at college and high school campuses across the country.
“It seems easy, but then you end up doing it and it’s actually not,” said participant Tiffany Shou, grade 10. “I didn’t even get to pull up Snapchat.” Shou hoped that this experience would help her to convince a friend to stop texting while driving.
“Statistically, for every alcohol-related accident on the road you’re now looking at about four texting and driving accidents,” said Sheehy, who had a piece of simple advice for young drivers: “Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”