Instructors use 'beer goggles' to teach UAE youths about dangers of drink-driving
Motoring experts are out to make sure the next generation of drivers on the UAE’s roads is a safer bunch - by making young motorists drive with impaired vision and distractions.
As part of the Ford Middle East Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) scheme, university students will learn what it’s like to drive with blurred vision - whether through being drunk or drowsiness - by being made to wear Fatal Vision goggles.
They will also be taught how to spot a hazard and how to ignore distractions, including instructors handing them a mobile phone and asking them to text someone while driving.
One surprised student said: “I totally thought I would be able to drive even with the goggles on. But it felt freaky. I couldn’t even walk in a straight line.
“It’s really scary to think of people driving in that state. I would never drive after drinking.”
Paul Anderson, of Ford Middle East, said: “Young people feel invincible. They’ll say: ‘I’ve taken lessons, so I know how to drive’.”
Anderson added: “This is different to driving lessons. It takes driving to the next level where we’re saying let’s really put you in some of those situations and see how you react.” Traffic accidents are one of the biggest killers in the UAE. Statistics from the Ministry of Interior show that there were 450 fatalities and 5,543 injuries on the country’s roads in the first three quarters of 2012.
The Ford Middle East DSFL programme is designed to help bring that number down. It was launched yesterday, in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Road and Transport Authority (RTA), in a car park in Dubai Academic City.
Instructors demonstrated how hard it was to drive while dealing with assorted in-car distractions such as passengers talking, changing radio stations and even handing the student driver a phone to text while driving.
The Ford drivers also briefed students on how to handle a car if it skids. But not all teens were tuned in to the safety aspect of the course. While some asked if they could bring their own cars to drive around the track, others appeared to confuse the skid-recovery part of the class with drifting.