Preventing distracted driving will be the focus of several activities held throughout the month of October to celebrate 4-H National Youth Science Day on Oct 7, 2015.
"Five seconds is the minimum time your attention is taken away from the road when you're texting and driving. If you are traveling 55 mph that is the amount of time it would take to travel the distance of a football field," explained Christine Wood, SDSU Extension 4-H Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Field Specialist, quoting data from Distraction.gov. "Those can be some pretty terrifying facts, but do they really hit home and do we really comprehend what that means?"
This year's 4-H National Youth Science Day allows youth to gain a better understanding of what can happen in a collision as well as how reaction times are delayed by distractions. Wood says scientific activities developed to celebrate 4-H National Youth Science Day are designed to engage youth in science, promote 4-H, provide public awareness on the dangers of distracted driving and promoting pedestrian safety.
"4-H National Youth Science Day coincides with the National Walk to School Day, and because healthy living is something we promote through 4-H programming, activities focused on pedestrian safety fit right in," Wood said.
One activity youth will engage in is the 4-H National Youth Science Day experiment which will teach youth about vehicle speed, momentum and kinetic energy as well as the impact that those factors have on car crashes.
"Within this lesson youth learn the importance of seat belts when in a car and helmets when on a bike. Youth also have an opportunity to explore reaction times and how distractions can affect them," Wood said. "By utilizing science to explain these everyday occurrences, youth not only have the potential to gain a new-found interest in science but it also brings a new kind of awareness to a very hot social issue for today's youth and adults."