Ford Motor Company has added another interesting teaching tool to the 2016 curriculum of their Driving Skills For Life global tour. In addition to a focus on subjects like drowsy driving and the importance of using a seat belt, the program now includes a “drugged driving” suit as well.
The suit was designed to mimic the symptoms of driving under the influence of drugs. By forcing the student to experience driving with blurred vision, slowed movements and reduced coordination, they are provided with an opportunity to experience what it’s like to be behind the wheel while under the influence.
According to Ford, the purpose of the suit is to provide students who are attending the ride-and-drive events here in the U.S. with an opportunity to learn something dangerous in a safe environment. After all, any real life experience with drugged driving is dangerous and can be life-threatening.
The suit simulates a wide variety of different drugs, ranging from cocaine and LSD to marijuana. The drivers, who are driving on a closely monitored closed course, are subjected to all kinds of impediments and distractions.
The suit includes headphones which funnel distracting sounds directly into the driver’s ears, while braces on the neck, elbows and knees restrict movement. Weights are worn on one ankle and the opposing wrist to simulate slowed reaction time and imbalance.
In addition, a specially designed set of goggles impairs the driver’s vision, causing tunnel vision, blurred vision and random flashing lights. There is also a “tremor generator,” which causes the driver’s hands to shake.
Ford established their Driving Skills for Life program in 2003. Working together, the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts have created a means by which the drivers of the future can be afforded a better chance to be prepared for the road. The students learn about the importance of making quality decisions behind the wheel, with a focus on safer driving skills.