The Allstate Foundation had its high-tech driving simulator at Reservoir High School in Fulton to show the teens in a safe environment how risky texting and driving can be. About 600 high school athletes from around the state were there taking part in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Conference.
“It was very realistic. When I started swerving, it got a little scary at times, and then when cars would pass me or I was passing cars, it got nerve-racking,” said Howard High School junior Peter Emery.
“I was trying to write in complete sentences and stay on the side of the road and stay on the speed limit and not hit anybody. I hit a parked car, so that’s definitely a sign that I shouldn’t be texting and driving,” said senior Taylor Stewart.
The event is designed to show teens how to be responsible, good leaders and role models in and out of the car.
“We’re trying to save lives. We definitely want there to be an impact. We want them to realize driving is a privilege. It’s a great responsibility, and we want them to know how important it is for them to drive safely,” said Shelva Clemons of the Allstate Foundation.
The students are also encouraged to sign a pledge not to text while driving by putting their thumbprint on a poster.
“It makes you make the promise to not text and drive, and every time you’re even tempted, you’ll remember, ‘Oh, I signed a pledge that says I’m not going to text and drive,'” Stewart said.
Going through the simulator, some students hit pedestrians while others hit cars and lost control behind the wheel. The drill taught them how dangerous driving distracted can be.
“It’s really distracting. Once you take your eyes off the road, you’re totally lost, and it just made it five times harder,” Emery said. “It’s definitely going to make me not want to text and drive. Either turn the phone off or give it to someone else, because it’s just not worth it.”