Why beer goggles mean bad driving | VailDaily.com

Why beer goggles mean bad driving

Representatives of the Eagle River Fire Protection District explain what happens to the driver and passengers in a severe automobile accident during the third annual Battle Mountain High School Teen Safe Driving Event on April 14. The fire district continued to dismantle the vehicle and performed a full extrication for the education of participating Battle Mountain High School students.
Townsend Bessent | Townsend@vaildaily.com |

EDWARDS — Beer goggles are not a wardrobe accessory, and nothing good can happen if you’re wearing them behind the wheel.

Battle Mountain High School’s third annual Teen Safe Driving Event returned the Thursday before Saturday’s prom.

Students did all sorts of wonderful stuff, and they learned the lessons they were supposed to learn.

They drove a go-kart around a pylon course, engineered to behave like the kids were drinking and driving. They tried beer goggles and weed goggles, both manufactured by the FATAL company, ironically enough.

“It’s not just the ride, it’s arriving alive and making sure they arrive responsibly and safely.”Dep. Megan HeilBattle Mountain High School school resource officer

There was texting and driving that almost no one completed without running over something or someone. They got the Red Thumb Reminder, in which their thumbnail was painted red, a reminder that texting and driving will kill you and other people.

I Walk the Line

Sedona Trygg and Brogan Murray were among the dozens of students who strapped on their beer goggles and tried to walk the line, and not in a Johnny Cash kind of way, unless you’re talking about the Johnny Cash years when he drank more than Shamu, then sure, we’ll go with the Man in Black.

“We are seeing what it’s like to be drunk and pass a test when (not “if”) you’re pulled over by the police,” Trygg said. “When you have the goggles on, your focus and everything is out of place.”

“We learned that it’s really hard to drive drunk,” Murray said.

“And if you can’t walk, you can’t drive,” Trygg said.

The go-kart is called SIDNE, pronounced Sidney, which is an acronym for Simulated Impaired Driving Experience, explained Deputy Tad Degen, school resource officer at Eagle Valley High School.

Kids drove the go-kart through a pylon course. Actually, they mostly drive it over the pylons.

The kids were sober because they were in school. The car, however, acts like the kid is hammered, complete with weaving and really bad steering.

“The car turns like they were a 0.08 to a 0.10, with a delay in the acceleration, the braking and the steering,” Degen said.

SIDNE runs about 5 mph, which is fast enough when your bohiney is about three inches off the asphalt, and the steering is less responsive than a liberal in Rush Limbaugh Land.

Barely a pylon was left standing after kids drove SIDNE over them. A few went over the curb and onto the sidewalk. One kid learned a physics lesson in mass versus velocity when she crashed it into the front of a parked SUV.

Both SIDNE and the kid emerged unscathed.

Roberto Neito and Rigo Villa are freshmen and neither have their licenses, but they drove SIDNE. And what did they learn?

“That it’s fun … and don’t drink and drive,” they said.

Also, don’t text and drive, don’t get distracted and drive …

The moral of that story, they said, is that when you’re driving, don’t do anything but drive.

A privilege, not a right

Dep. Megan Heil, Battle Mountain’s school resource officer, said they want to make sure the kids don’t just arrive, that they arrive safely.

“Being behind the wheel is a privilege. It is not a right, and with that privilege comes lots of responsibilities,” Heil said. “It’s not just the ride, it’s arriving alive and making sure they arrive responsibly and safely.”

Kim Green, with the Vail Valley Medical Center, helps run the teen safe driving program, with the Eagle County Prevention Committee. A grant from the Ford Motor Co. helped make the program bigger this year.

Unlike SIDNE, Teen Safe Driving Event isn’t an acronym or spell anything, but it’s still a really good idea.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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