Some Winnipeg high school students got behind the wheel at a local go-kart track on Monday evening to learn what it's like to drive while distracted or impaired.
Six Grade 11 students from Grant Park High School took part in two driving exercises at Speedworld Indoor Kart Track as part of Project Shift, a new road safety awareness program.
The students drove go karts at speeds of around 40 kilometres an hour for both exercises.
For the first two laps, they had to wear beer goggles to simulate impaired driving.
"It's a bit hard because I had to estimate everything, see where I was," said Tommy Mahoney, one of the students who took part in the simulation.
Then for the next two laps, the students had to drive their go karts while trying to text the event's organizer at the same time.
"The texting … that was impossible! I got really close to hitting the barriers a few times," said Alenna Mark.
Project Shift was started by friends of Amanda Frizzley, a tow truck driver who was killed when she was struck by a drunk driver speeding the wrong way down a one-way downtown street in September 2007.
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"There's no excuse to make choices like that," said Michelle Golebiowski, Frizzley's best friend and the organizer of Monday's event.
"We have friends and family, we have resources. It's very important, I think, for people to remember not to drink and drive."
The students said they will talk with other students about what they learned at Monday's exercise.
"I learned it's pretty dangerous to make some decisions that people are making," Mahoney said. "I personally never text and drive, but I see people doing it."
"It's upsetting that … so many people are drinking and driving or texting and driving and affecting other people's lives," said Mark.
"I would never want to lose somebody that's close to me."