Use the below ideas to get you started. You can also use the Think! website, which has a range of resources, including videos and ideas for planning lessons. Teachers in Scotland can use Road Safety Scotland's teaching resources. See also the section on lesson ideas for 11-14 year olds for ideas that may be adapted to suit an older age range.
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Analyse the benefits and disadvantages of different modes of road transport, ranging from walking to cycling, from cars to buses. Explore issues such as deaths and injuries, pollution, congestion, noise, health, and the well-being of communities. You can find statistics on walking and cycling on our facts pages. Find information on the importance of sustainable transport on Sustrans website, www.sustrans.org.uk.
Explore in-depth a set of statistics relating to road casualties, over a period of years. Look for increases or decreases and explore the possible reasons for these. For example, look at increases in drink driving casualties over the past decade, or the large number of deaths on roads of motorbikers, or the large number of young drivers who get hurt compared with older drivers. You can use information on facts page of Brake’s website, or for detailed statistics, download the Government’s annaul report on road casualties, Road Casualties Great Britain.
Using the above statistics, explore the risks of dying on roads using different modes of transport. For example, on average, everyone stands a one in 200 chance of dying on the road. Do people know the risks are this high? Would they take more care if they did? The risks of dying on a train or in an aeroplane are significantly lower. Discuss people’s perceptions and fears of risk on different modes of transport. Discuss people’s perceptions and fears of being killed in a road crash compared with being attacked or murdered. Five times as many people are killed on roads compared with people murdered.
Explore reasons for reductions in casualties and how many of these reductions may not be to do with people behaving safer ?” for example, crash protection measures in vehicles, better road design, less people cycling and walking. The government is trying to encourage people to walk and cycle more for health reasons. Consider how this should be done, while also ensuring people’s safety when on foot or on a bike.
What can be done to improve behaviour of road users? Pick topics that will have direct relevance to young people ?” for example, the importance of wearing protective clothing as well as a helmet on a motorbike. Should there be an advertising campaign? A new law? You could choose the contemporary topic of drugged driving. What are the dangers of drugged driving? How do we stop it?
Have a debate on a contentious road safety topic. Do some original research using the internet before the debate, in groups. Have a vote at the end of the debate.
There is a saying among road safety professionals that ‘the safest car is the one with a spike sticking out of the steering wheel’. Think about that saying. Why might they say that?
Carry out an in-depth survey of local roads and suggest road safety improvements (eg. road markings, a speed camera, crossings, regular police patrols). Your council’s safety engineer may be able to give you information about guidelines on implementing road improvements. As part of your survey, write and carry out a questionnaire for local people about their perceptions of local roads and if they think anything needs improving. Use our community campaign page for information on working with local officials to achieve road safety engineering measures.
Explore ‘Home Zones’ which are speed-controlled neighbourhoods where pedestrians have priority above cars or ‘woonerfen’ in the Netherlands which are similar. What are the design features of a Home Zone? How do Home Zones make the residents feel about their neighbourhood? Contact your road safety officer to find out if there is a Home Zone near you, and arrange a visit, and arrange to interview some residents there.
Use road safety as the theme for a creative project, such as designing a website, producing a video, producing a play, or running a media campaign for local people. Run this project over a term and ensure it has quantifiable outcomes - e.g. monitor the number of hits on the website, or the number of ‘column centimetres’ obtained in local newspapers about your campaign.
Explore the impact of road crashes on the NHS. Explore the types of injuries and their treatment. Explore the enormous costs involved in treating and rehabilitating victims. Explore the costs involved when a ‘bread winner’ is killed. Who pays for food? Child care? The mortgage? Study newspaper articles about road crashes and consider the possible consequences in those cases.
More than a third of crashes involves a vehicle being driven for work. Pupils could pretend they are a health and safety officer for a company with a fleet of trucks, vans and company cars. What policies could they implement to reduce the chances of crashes involving their vehicles? For example, banning the use of all types of mobile phone while driving, setting reasonable schedules so drivers don’t speed between appointments or drive when they are tired, ensuring all vehicles are maintained to the standards recommended by the manufacturer.