Knoxville drivers get a virtual lesson in distracted driving

Knoxville drivers get a virtual lesson in distracted driving

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The simulator, called the Reality Ride, is only making stops in 20 cities. Its stop at West Town Mall Friday is the only one in Tennessee. The simulator, called the Reality Ride, is only making stops in 20 cities. Its stop at West Town Mall Friday is the only one in Tennessee.
"A lot of us don't really take it seriously," said Allison Hatcher. "Maybe we haven't been in an accident, but they're easy to cause." "A lot of us don't really take it seriously," said Allison Hatcher. "Maybe we haven't been in an accident, but they're easy to cause."
Allstate hopes the experience inspires drivers to take the pledge to stop texting and join the 'X the Text' campaign. Allstate hopes the experience inspires drivers to take the pledge to stop texting and join the 'X the Text' campaign.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Knoxville drivers are getting a chance to see how they handle distractions behind the wheel with a new driving simulator. This comes a day after some startling numbers were released showing Tennessee with the highest percent of deaths related to cell phone use while driving.

The simulator, called the Reality Ride, is only making stops in 20 cities. Its stop at West Town Mall Friday is the only one in Tennessee.

"It's an epidemic if you really look at the numbers and specifically in Tennessee," said Allison Hatcher with Allstate Insurance. "There are lives that are lost every day and distracted driving is becoming a problem more and more and it's not just the young drivers. We're all at risk when we're out there."

Allstate is combating the problem by putting drivers to the test.

"We're giving people a chance to learn about it in a fun way, but hopefully in a way that they will take something home and really remember it and do something different," said Hatcher.

While the simulator doesn't move, it's a real car in every other way. The brakes, the gas pedal, and the steering are all the same. The car even leans when you turn and shakes when you break.

It seems easy enough at first, but the virtual simulator becomes more difficult when the instructor tells you to start texting. Adding in other normal distractions of the road, it gets downright scary.

"A lot of us don't really take it seriously," said Hatcher. "Maybe we haven't been in an accident, but they're easy to cause."

After you complete the simulator, you will get a printout including all the infractions based on how you did.

Allstate hopes the experience inspires drivers to take the pledge to stop texting and join the 'X the Text' campaign.

If you would like more information about the 'X the Text' program, click here.

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