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Allstate brings driving simulator to UB

A student experiences what it would be like to crash while texting and driving in the Allstate Reality Rides driving simulator. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

By CORY NEALON

Published September 1, 2017

Distracted driving — whether texting a friend or eating a hamburger — is dangerous. It claimed 3,477 lives in the United States in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

To help curb distracted driving, Allstate brought its Reality Rides driving simulator to UB’s North Campus on Wednesday.

The simulator, which was parked outside the Student Union, is a stationary vehicle with virtual reality LED screens across the windshield, displaying animated scenarios drivers often encounter.

Using the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, students tried to navigate those situations while also attempting to text message, answer phone calls or use in-car technology like GPS — all activities that frequently distract drivers in real life.

Afterward, participants receive “traffic citations” that highlight real infractions they’ve committed during their simulations.

According to the newly released Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report, Buffalo landed at No. 127 out of 200 ranked safest driving cities in the country. By comparison, Rochester ranked No. 126 and Cleveland ranked No. 87.