PEERS Foundation Uses Virtual Reality to Teach Kids About Road Safety

Driving, itself, can be dangerous, but when you add distractions, it can be deadly.

PEERS Foundation teamed up with State Farm Insurance to teach kids that taking their eyes off the road, even for a second, could have life-changing consequences.

“If you’re driving 55 miles an hour and you look down at your phone, it takes an average of five seconds to look down at a text or respond to a text, you’ve driven the length of a football field with your eyes off the road,” said a PEERS Foundation representative.

Using the latest technology, the Augmented Reality Distracted Driving Education Simulator, kids get to experience the difficulty of driving while using their phones.

“It’s really hard. It’s takes a lot longer than I thought it was gonna to look down at (the phone) and pick it up,” Josie Petrulis, a sophomore at Brownell Talbot School said.

“When you put the goggles on, basically you’re taking a course in the city, it’s pretty much an everyday thing,” Timmus Pong, a PEERS Foundation representative, said.

The kids have to wait for pedestrians, stop at red lights and watch out for other cars, all while distracted.

“It was very difficult driving because you have to look at your phone and the road and monitor each individually,” Andrew Massey, a sophomore at Brownell Talbot School, said.

But the students walked away with a new sense of reality.

“It’s just not worth it. It’s just a text, and it can wait,” Petrulis said.

“Keep things away from yourself that could potentially distract you. Try to keep your passengers safe and other people safe on the road,” Massey said.

PEERS Foundation hopes this exercise in augmented reality can save a real life.