Driving simulators focus on common teen errors

With distracted driving so prevalent among teens, any new approach to training is welcomed. We’re seeing driver education leverage technology more and more with apps, interactive driving schools, and even driving report cards sent by the family smart car.

Although apps and smart cars are helping to improve teen driving safety, sometimes it takes something a little bigger to hammer the lesson home.

Nebraska State Patrol's rollover simulator shows how easy it is to be injured or thrown out of a car in a rollover crash if not wearing a seatbelt. The traveling simulator uses crash dummies to demonstrate the benefits of using seat belts.

In another driving simulator aimed at illustrating the dangers of distracted driving, Nebraska State Patrol officers allow teens to use cell phones, and the driver almost always ends up crashing during the simulation.

Toyota’s TeenDrive365 simulator uses virtual reality technology to challenge teens’ focus through a set of common distractions including traffic noises, text messages, and virtual passengers. The simulator is making the rounds at regional auto shows, but we bet parents would love to see driving schools use the tool, or see demonstrations at school or community events.

Oregon State University researchers found that this type of interactive driver training (through simulators, problem-solving, and discussion groups) helps improve driver education since teens learn better when they’re involved in the process and not listening to a lecture.

Which lessons or demonstrations had the most impact on your teen driver?

by  Sharlyn Petit

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