There is no better time to conduct a lesson in road safety than during National Yellow Ribbon Road Safety Week which is being held from 9-15 November 2020. Why not harness the interest and awareness that will come from the added media attention, community engagement and the lighting of iconic local structures by having students conduct their own road safety experiment and take an active and community-minded role in improving safety at their own school?
This year’s road safety week theme is ‘Step up for Safe Streets’. Tying in nicely with RYDA’s enduring road safety week theme of ‘Drive so Others Survive, ‘Step up for Safe Streets’ asks citizens to take action to protect others.
During the RYDA Workshop’s ‘Crash Investigators’ session, students conduct an investigation into a real-life crash. They examine the crash against the four pillars of the Government’s ‘safe system’:
• Safe Roads and Roadsides;
• Safe Road Use;
• Safe Vehicles;
• Safe Speeds
The ‘safe system’ is an approach designed to put how people think and act behind the wheel at the centre of how we design and operate our road transport system. It recognises that people make mistakes and bodies are fragile. By strengthening all areas of the system, it means that if something does go wrong, the rest of the system can pick up the slack and the crash may not result in serious injury or death.
The ‘safe system’ makes for a great lens through which students can examine local challenges and opportunities. Our Crash Investigator Session Booster challenges students to investigate the roads surrounding the school or a crash hot spot in your area. It can be completed after students attend the RYDA Workshop as a reinforcement of learning or before as a way to frontload students with some knowledge and experience to draw from during the session. We’ve extended the exercise to incorporate other areas of the ‘safe system’ and create a fun activation project for Road Safety Week.
SET THE SCENE: Let students know that National Road Safety Week is coming up from 9-15 November. As a students group, they are going to embrace the theme of ‘Step up for Safe Streets’ and investigate what can be done to create a safer environment in and around the school. The Government’s ‘safe system’ will be the basis of their investigations so we have put together a brief summary of the approach here.
ASSIGN GROUPS: The activity is designed to be flexiable in its delivery. You have the option of dividing students into two groups and assigning each a task or selecting one task and assigning it to all students.
GROUP 1 – Safe Roads and Roadsides
GROUP 2 – Safe Vehicles
GROUP 1 Activity – Investigate the area: Challenge students to investigate the roads surrounding the school or a crash hot spot in your area. Students could obtain statistics and analyse on-site or by photograph. As a group, brainstorm ways to use the research findings and knowledge of the ‘safe system’ to make several recommendations for change. Hold a fundraiser to fund equipment or signage to improve safety in and around the school – see our fundraiser ideas below.
GROUP 2 Activity – Car Park Audit: Students investigate the vehicles in the student parking area to determine the safety of the cars being driven by novice drivers in their school. Dividing the group up, they should record things like – condition of tyres (tread, etc), guestimated age of vehicles, condition of windows and windscreens (ie visibility, cracks, etc). To determine the safety rating of vehicles, students could conduct a quick search on rightcar.govt.nz. Students create a graphic to chart their findings and as a group, brainstorm ways to promote vehicle safety to the student body.
Raising Awareness and Raising Funds for Improved Safety
Why not get the whole school involved with two simple fundraiser activities:
Wear yellow to school day – invite students and faculty to dress in part or head to toe in yellow to raise awareness for road safety. Your SADD committee or RYDA year group could collect a gold coin donation at the school gates.
Students conduct vehicle checks for staff – here’s a fun one. We created a ‘vehicle health check-list‘ as part of our RYDA 5.0 at a Social Distance program. Why not print it out and have your RYDA students team up with teachers to run a quick check over their cars in the school parking lot. The activity could be conducted over lunch breaks throughout National Road Safety Week with teachers asked to make a donation to the cause.