Did someone say beer goggles?

Published 3:37 am Thursday, October 18, 2018

Peer Helpers  encourage safe driving

Andalusia High School students got a sobering look at impaired driving during the AHS Peer Helpers’ annual Safe Driving Fun Day.

The event, staged on the baseball field, offered several activities, including a huge target where students could kick Velcro soccer balls twice without beer goggles and then once with the beer goggles so they could “Take Aim and Be Safe;” an Andalusia Police Department go-cart course which students had to navigate while “impaired” by beer goggles; a rock wall for the students to climb because “Safe Driving Rocks;” and a gladiator pit where students tried to knock each other off a platform with padded rods because they were “Knocking Out Distracted Driving.”

Caleb Williams climbs the rock wall.

“We wanted to have all of these activities, especially the ones with the beer goggles, so they could have a perspective as to how dangerous driving drunk is,” Peer Helper sponsor Charlotte Spurlin said. “Even though we have a driver’s education course, we wanted to take the students out of the classroom and have them engaged in activities.”

Spurlin said that high school is an important time for students to learn about the many distractions that occur while they are at the wheel.

“We have kids now that are learning how to drive,” Spurlin said. “Either that or they are already driving and they need to know about these distractions so they can stay safe.”

While texting and drunk driving may be the most popular distraction that most people think of, Spurlin said that there are many other distractions that students need to think about.

“Almost everyone always assumes that drinking and texting are the two things that distract us behind the wheel,” Spurlin said. “But it is not always that. Eating, singing and driving too fast, putting on makeup while driving. Though these things may not be breaking the law, they have to learn to truly be safe they need to put these things into consideration when they are driving.”

The AHS Peer Helpers have been hosting safe driving competitions all week leading up to the Safe Driving Fun Day.

“We like to do little competitions to keep the students motivated about safe driving,” Spurlin said. “Last week the peer helpers hid 150 ‘safe driving rocks’ and the students who found the most rocks won a monetary prize. This week we had a video competition and we will vote on who wins next week.”

Along with safe driving in a car, Larry Lindsey from the Dixie American Bikers Aimed Towards Education was in attendance to talk about the safety of driving a motorcycle.

Lindsey said that he has been teaching classes for motorcycle riders for decades.

“If you have any interest in riding a motorcycle, you should at least take a basic rider class first,” Lindsey said. “Take charge of your riding and be a safe driver. Google motorcycle lessons and the closest ones to Andalusia will probably be in Dothan or Montgomery.”

Lindsey travels around the state educating people in motorcycle safety.

“I specifically teach new drivers how to successfully share the road with other vehicles,” Lindsey said. “Even if you don’t have a motorcycle and you think that it might interest you, take a class with us. You don’t even have to have a motorcycle to take the class, we provide it for you.”

Spurlin said that the Safe Driving Fun Day is a way to get the entire school together to learn about something important.

“Dr. Shakespeare and Mr. Shellhouse have been so supportive in letting us have this,” Spurlin said. “It is a great way to get all of the grades, 7-12, involved and show kids that these types of things can be fun.”