Alderson Broaddus University was the latest stop for the Arrive Alive Tour, a traveling virtual reality exhibit that works to reinforce the dangers of drunk driving and distracted driving in high school and college students alike. The tour travels up and down the east coast, simulating drunk driving or asking participants to text while they drive.
“We do that with our simulator in which the drivers seat becomes the controller for the virtual world. You put on a virtual reality headset, we usually use Bluetooth for the gas and break and steering wheel, so it’s just very simple, very easy to use,” said Max Vandewater, who travels with the tour running the demonstrations.
It’s a lesson that both tour staff and college officials say is important to remind students of, even when many of them have spent their high school years hearing the same thing. Tour staff said accidents relating to driving while impaired or drunk is the largest killer of teens in the county.
“Texting and driving and drinking and driving are the main proponents of the number, so we’re out here to try to curb those. It’s really important to remember for people that texting and driving can be the same as drinking and driving, and actually causes six times the amount of accidents that drinking and driving does,” said Vandewater.
Alderson Broaddus University officials said bringing in a firsthand activity like the tour doesn’t just make it a fun event that students can do and forget. They think it helps bring the reality of the situation closer to the front of students’ minds.
“I think it helps make everything set in, especially after the simulation is done, and they hand them the citations and tell them well this is how many citations you would have racked up and this is how much it would have cost. They’re like, ‘oh, wow,’ and that’s when the realization hits,” said ABU Security Officer Jeff Price.