EL-GHS mock crash a lesson for all of us

STUDENTS AT ELKHART LAKE Glenbeulah High School got an impactful lesson on the short- and long-term consequences of distracted driving and texting while driving recently.

Fortunately, the lesson came in the form of a mock accident and not a real-life tragedy, but it was still a lesson that all of those participating and observing need to learn from – as well as all of us.

Distracted driving has always been a safety concern, but it has become even more so these days.

There have always been distractions for drivers to deal with for as long as there have been drivers, but the temptation to take one’s eyes off the road for even a second or less has grown almost exponentially with the advent of cell phones, social media and other modern-day distractions.

And all it takes is for someone’s attention to wander from the important task of driving for a tragedy to occur.

While distracted driving is a problem for drivers of all ages, it is especially so for new, teenaged drivers, who are still learning the habits and skills necessary to be a good and safe driver.

Safe driving takes practice and attention, both of which too often new and learning drivers have in short supply.

That’s what makes mock crashes like the one at Elkhart Lake- Glenbeulah High School such a valuable teaching tool. They provide a strong visual tool for driving home a point much more effectively than words or pictures alone.

Students portraying injured or dead drivers or passengers, students seeing their classmates suffering the consequences of distracted driving, students watching the many people and agencies who are involved in and impacted by such an accident, all learn a profound and impactful lesson.

One participant, student Sarah Schneider, summed it all up nicely.

“Putting on all the makeup and fake blood, and then actually being the one carried away on a stretcher to the helicopter made me realize just how much I never want to experience any of it for real. Please put your phone down so none of us have to experience this in real life,” she said.

And it couldn’t have been said any better.

It’s something all of us who drive, whatever our age or experience, need to hear and heed.

When you’re driving, that text or phone call, photo or Facebook post, or anything else that draws attention and focus away from safely driving, can wait until you’ve reached your destination, finished driving and can give it your attention.

If it’s that important, pull safely to the side of the road to take care of social media business. Don’t turn your vehicle into a deadly implement and cause a tragedy that could easily have been avoided.

That’s a lesson all of us, not just the students at Elkhart Lake- Glenbeulah High School, should learn and follow every day.

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