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‘Drunk suit’ is a sobering experience

Cologne, Germany - You can talk until you're blue in the face, but you are never going to convince a teenager that having a few drinks impairs their ability to drive.

More than half of 17-24 year-olds in Britain and Europe say they or their friends have driven drunk and two out of three don't even know what the legal limit is.

The effect is either hilarious or downright scary, depending on how you look at it.

So the instructors at Ford's Driving Skills for Life, an international programme that gives free driver training to young people, came up with the drunk suit - a pair of goggle that distorts your distance perception and peripheral vision, ear-muffs so that you can't properly hear what's going on around you, restrictive padding on neck, knees and ankles, and uneven weights on wrists and ankles to mess up both your balance and your reaction times.

The effect is as if your body is as drunk as a skunk while your mind is stone cold sober.

Tiat’s is either hilarious or downright scary, depending on how you look at it. Then they put the youngsters in the driving seat of a car on a closed course and ask them to carry out simple driving manoeuvres such as a slalom or reverse parking.

The result is usually a blow to the ego of a confident young driver and, hopefully, a lesson well learned.

The drunk suit - and the set-up that goes with it - are on a world tour of Skills for Life programmes; Ford SA says they will be here in November, when a number of initiatives will be launched in South Africa to drive home the lesson (sorry about that!) just ahead of the silly season, when partying and long-distance holiday driving are the order of the day.

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