YOUNG drivers have had a wake-up call at an awareness event to mark National Road Safety Week.
Portsmouth City Council is urging young people to stay safe and has been running a road safety event at Highbury College in Cosham and at Portsmouth College.
Yesterday, council road safety officers were at Highbury College giving students the chance to test out ‘beer goggles’, to get an idea of what it’s like when drunk.
There was also a real crash car on site, with Hampshire Fire and Rescue on hand to discuss the issues surrounding distraction and driving.
Bob New, community support officer for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: ‘We all grow up and get cars eventually. But a lot of people don’t realise they are basically driving round a little metal box.
‘It’s about being aware of what happens in a car crash and how vulnerable they can be.
‘A lot of the students are being very responsive and lots of questions are being asked.’
Connor Newton, 18, from Baffins, said: ‘I think it’s quite a big eye opener. When you’re drunk you don’t know what’s going on.
‘Seeing the car smashed up is an eye opener too. It makes me realise, me and my mates used to drive quite fast.
‘It’s made me think twice about racing down the road.’
Tom Essery, 19, from Waterlooville, added: ‘This is a good idea. It’s a good experience to let people know what it’s like. It’s a good lesson for people our age to learn.’
Students were also asked to identify stopping distances for different speeds. And cyclists had the chance to pick up some handy hints and tips as well as free hi-visibility clothing.
Nicola Waight, road safety officer at the council, said: ‘Unfortunately younger drivers’ lack of experience puts them at risk when they first start to drive.
‘Also, in some cases, they have bad habits like texting while driving, which put them at risk for the rest of their driving career.
‘Our aim is to discuss these issues with the students, and give them a better understanding that will change their behaviour – for their own sake and for the safety of other road users.’