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Simulator allows teen drivers to experience car accident

Driving is dangerous, in part, because it is so common. This causes both a great deal of exposure, and leads to habituation by drivers. At the same time, for many younger drivers, there is a lack of experience with handling various road conditions and situations, which leaves them at risk of making critical errors while operating a vehicle.

Young drivers also suffer from overconfidence bias, feeling themselves young and invulnerable. And they have not been exposed to enough driving situations to understand how an activity may cause a car accident or worse.

Texting is the fabric of their lives, and yet, when combined with driving, can rapidly unravel their young lives. Alcohol holds an irresistible draw, and if done while driving promises only death and destruction.

Young drivers are at risk, especially during the first months of their driving, which often occur during the distracted, hazy days of summer. So how can we apprise them of the risks in a meaningful way?

The AAA has created a simulator that allows young (or any) drivers the ability to attempt to drive while texting or intoxicated, and see firsthand from the point of view of a vehicle occupant, how difficult that is and what can go wrong.

A news story from Florida notes that the county official that co-sponsored the simulator tried it and found it more demanding that he expected, "I was amazed at how difficult it was," he said. "I mean, if you were distracted at all, it's almost impossible to drive safely."

Indeed.

Given the risks younger drivers face, the use of simulators to create a more realistic driving experience is a technology that should be more broadly employed.

Source: News4jax.com, "Simulator shows dangers of distracted driving," Elizabeth Campbell, Kumasi Aaron, July 23, 2014

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