Truman adds driver’s education elective and simulators

Bristol Township School District  |  Posted on

A student uses the new driver’s education simulator. Photo by Suzanne Denny.

At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, Harry S. Truman High School began offering a driver’s education course to inform students on safe driving. The course is certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and is offered as a half-year elective to students in grades 9-12. The driver’s education course just received three simulators as well, and a simulator room will be ready for the 2021-22 school year. One simulator has been set up so far and students have begun trying it out for the first time.

“Using the car simulator was a 10 out of 10 experience,” said Christina Williams, 10th grade student. “I would totally love to do it again and it really gave me real world experience of what driving is like.”

The simulator is equipped with a computer screen, steering wheel, pedals and gear shifts, which gives students the opportunity to learn automatic or manual driving. “Studies show that simulators aren’t just video games,” said Suzanne Denny, health and physical education department lead. “They allow kids to be put in dangerous situations without actually being in them.”

Before students get behind the wheel for the first time, simulators give students the opportunity to drive with less fear and anxiety. They can experience what it is like to drive impaired, in the rain or snow, and at nighttime. Students can also practice parallel parking, highway or city driving, and of course, become familiar with the basics like road signs and signals. After completing the course, students earn a certification of completion from PDE, for which some insurance companies offer discounts. Additionally, three hours of simulator driving can be counted towards one hour of driving when preparing for the state’s driver’s license test, which requires 65 hours of adult-supervised driving.