Students texting while driving, skidding out of control and seeing double all sounds like a recipe for disaster, but last week, students from Canyon Del Oro High School did just that, in hopes of avoiding disaster.
As part of a nationwide driving skills program put on by the Ford Motor Company, the Driving Skills for Life program aimed to bring awareness to CDO students about the number of teen fatalities and driver distractions.
Last Friday, 72 students took to the Golder Ranch Fire District’s main station parking lot where they participated in three real-world situations where they were put behind the wheel of a real car and asked to navigate a narrow cone course while trying to text a message on a cell phone.
They were also asked to follow a line course and coned course while wearing goggles that emulated driving drunk.
The students also got to drive a 2011 Ford Mustang that was modified so the rear-wheel traction was substantially less than a normal car, causing drivers to easily lose control of the back end of the vehicle while performing a u-turn.
For senior Delaney Krohn, she found the class interesting because she got to try some of the activities offered, all while doing it in a safe environment.
“I couldn’t see anything,” Krohn said about wearing the vision impairment goggles. “You know what it is like when you look through a kaleidoscope? It’s like that; you can’t tell where you are going.”
After driving, she said she didn’t understand why anyone would drive drunk, seeing how difficult it was to try and keep the car from hitting the cones.
“The cones could be cars, or people, or bike riders, which could lead to death or other things,” Krohn added.
For some, like 17-year-old Nikki Barnard, she felt confident that she would be able to control her vehicle better that she did.
“I was excited to drive the Mustang, I’m a huge Mustang fan,” Barnard said. “I thought I would do a little bit better with the skidding. My father taught me how to drive, and I thought he taught me very well, but I was surprised to find that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was.”
Each time the Ford Motor Company holds events like this, it costs $35,000, which is funded by the Ford Operation Goodwill Program. The school, students and district did not have to pay for anything.