BUFFALO, WV (WOWK) – April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and while the month is coming to an end, the life-threatening risks stay when drivers aren’t sober and aren’t paying attention behind the wheel.

With high school proms and graduation celebrations right around the corner, Buffalo High School and the Buffalo Police Department want teens to know the dangers of distracted driving.

Buffalo High School’s prom is Saturday, and the school wants students to make good decisions while driving.

Specifically, the school is educating students on the dangers of using cell phones while driving, intoxication behind the wheel and anything that contributes to unsafe driving.

More than 100 Buffalo High School students went through distracted driving simulations Wednesday afternoon at their school.

“It is prom season. It’s graduation season. They’re not only going to these events, but they’re going to parties surrounding that, and we just want them to have all the information and education that they can whether it be drinking or drugs or distracted driving with texting,” Buffalo High School Principal Shawn Wheeler said.

Wheeler continued, “Whatever it may be, we want to present them with the best information just to make sure it’s in the back of their minds when they’re going to all these events and hanging out with friends to make good choices. One silly mistake can haunt them for years or a lifetime, and we don’t want that.”

The simulation was led by Buffalo High School Resource Officer Jordan.

“He brought the idea to me, and I think it’s a wonderful idea to present the students with all the information that we can to help keep them safe because that’s what we’re here to do,” Wheeler said. “We’re here to educate, keep them safe, and help them make good life choices.”

During the distracted driving simulations, students had to wear fatal vision goggles that replicate someone’s vision who is under the influence of alcohol. Students then had to walk along a line and operate a golf cart.  

“It was really really hard actually. I didn’t even realize how difficult it was. I realized how messed up you can get just from a little drink too. Walking the line, that was so hard,” Buffalo High School senior Elisa Riley said.

Another senior at Buffalo High School, Jesse Abshire, said the exercise made him feel dizzy as if he was swaying.

“I never planned on drinking and driving anyways, but now after doing this, one hundred percent no. Not in the book of things I want to do,” Abshire said.

The goal was to open students’ eyes to the danger of not paying attention to the road.

“I like to think I’m a pretty safe driver, so I try to pay attention to the road as much as humanly possible,” Abshire said. “If you’re not paying attention, you could seriously hurt somebody. That’s what gets said a lot, but it’s true because it happens.” 

Several students said that the simulation made them see the dangers of being impaired while driving.

Other students went on to say their generation struggles to not use their phones while driving.

“Somebody I know growing up used to text and drive a lot, and I’ve always never really liked it, especially when I’m driving and I see somebody in a car ahead of me, and I see them looking down and I know they’re on their phone,” Buffalo High School senior Chloe Lafferty said. “It makes me feel unsafe on the road.”

Using a cell phone while driving is one of the highest causes of distracted driving-related car accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

With prom and graduation festivities around the corner, students said the exercise made them think twice about not driving safely.  

“I actually really encourage safety, and I really want our prom to be the best, and the safety, that big part of having fun too because you don’t want to have people out running around, and then there could be accidents and really injuries that could cause,” Riley said. “I don’t want that to happen. I want everyone here with me when we graduate, and that is something that is really important to me.”