The Detroit Auto Show is currently well underway in the birthplace of the automotive industry, a spectacular showcase of the industry’s hottest cars, newest trends, and biggest anticipated technologies for the next year.
While brands such as Volvo and Mercedes are going all-in with their semi-autonomous and self-driving features, American manufacturer Ford seems to be focusing on driver safety – and in the most unconventional ways.
In order to highlight the dangers of impaired driving and limited driving ability, Ford created wearable suits to emulate various limitations of one’s driving ability. Among these is a “drugged driving suit”, a wearable gadget that seeks to simulate the effects of being under the influence of narcotics. In order to do that, this suit features:
- Headphones that play jarring, distracting background noise
- Glasses that impair sight through flashing lights, blurred vision, and blinders that cause tunnel vision
- Bandages and braces at major joints to restrict movement
- Staggered weights on one ankle and one wrist to simulate balance issues
- Tremor generator in one wrist to hamper coordination
Ford claims these features combined can accurately emulate the negative effects of taking LSD, ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. While those claims are dubious at best, there is no doubt that this seems like it may be an effective tool in the fight against impaired driving.
The Drugged Driving Suit in Action
While the suit was first unveiled by Ford in November, the Detroit Auto Show presents one of the first opportunities to provide a real-time demonstration to the public. While the suit initially looks quite silly and low-budget, the effects of the “featured impairments” are quite striking.
To corroborate the effects shown in this promotional video, Alex Stoklosa of Car and Driver magazine also experienced this in person to “miserable” results. Balance issues are apparent, and the vision and coordination limiters did their part to significantly impair any and all driving skills.
As drugs such as cannabis increase in prevalence, and driving while high still remains a very serious problem in this nation, even seemingly-goofy devices such as Ford’s drugged driving suit can make a difference. These enhanced experiences can highlight just how impaired one can be when under the influence of drugs – and do so without the euphoria of a “high” clouding one’s judgement.