Distractions while driving have the potential to be deadly, especially as they require drivers to take their eyes off the road – and any potential vehicles or traffic lights. This can be a problem, especially for inexperienced new drivers.
"Distracted driving is a widespread epidemic among young drivers that continues to worsen, particularly as mobile devices become more prevalent, more advanced and more addictive," said John Donohue, CEO of US insurer Arbella Insurance Group.
To ensure the next generation of drivers are free from the vice of distractions, Arbella created the Distractology 101 Distracted Driving Education Program. This isn't just about explaining the dangers of distractions, but using detailed simulator to show students a crash.
The Distractology simulator currently tours the United States, visiting various parking lots and schools.
"Distractology is an effective teaching tool because young drivers actually experience the feeling of a distracted driving crash scenario," he said.
When in the simulator, young drivers feel the shock of the impact from another vehicle, as well as the distressing situation which follows a serious crash – all from the safety of the simulator. Mr Donohue explained that the ultimate goal was to force drivers to stop using phones completely while on the road.
Users are able to see the road through a set of monitors, and control a physical steering wheel. For 45 minutes, drivers navigate the virtual road unaware of an impending impact.
It's likely that these types of simulators will become more common place, especially given the advancing nature of virtual reality technologies. Potentially, it will become easier to introduce such simulators to schools directly, helping to build a culture of road safety from an early age.