DfT launches resource centre for future drivers

30th May 2013

The Department for Transport (DfT) has created an online resource centre to promote road safety for children and teenagers, a demographic which is often overlooked by road safety campaigns. The THINK! campaign offers a variety of road safety materials which teachers, road safety officers, driving instructors and parents can use to educate young children.

Road safety minister, Stephen Hammond, said: “THINK! education resources are already highly regarded, but we wanted to make them much easier to use in road safety lessons. This new online resource will be used by teachers across the country to give children the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe on the roads.”

DfT has organised the potentially life-saving materials into 25 lesson packs which target different age groups, ranging from early years to adolescence. In addition, teenagers preparing for their driving exam can access helpful tips and lessons via the newly-launched resource centre.

The lesson packs are available online for parents to download, as well. Activities, films and anecdotal stories are included to drive the lessons home. By instilling good habits into your children from a young age, you’ll significantly minimise their risk of harm on the road.

Early years

Children five and under are taught how to wear bright clothing in order to be easily seen in high traffic areas. Additionally, they should always cross the road with the guidance of an adult. THINK! teaches young children how to behave near roads and instills a cautious attitude. It’s imperative for teachers and parents to encourage children to respect the road from an early age – it’s an attitude that’s hard to teach later.

Parents know how disruptive young kids can be in the car, so to address the issue, the THINK campaign promotes appropriate, safe behaviour. Furthermore, children are educated about a variety of things to beware of, including non-motorised traffic like bicycles.

Lower primary

Lower primary lessons build upon the previous themes and explain the need for safety precautions. Children between five to seven years old are a little more capable of grasping why safe habits are important. Youngsters are also taught to ‘stop, look and listen’ when they cross the road.

Upper primary

Children between the ages of seven to 11 are taught the Green Cross Code, and how to identify different types of road crossings. Furthermore, children at this age are old enough to cross the road on their own – THINK!’s lesson pack teaches them how to do so safely. In addition to basic pedestrian safety, this age group also learns about what constitutes safe behaviour for bicyclists and how to be as safe as possible when riding on a bike.

Lower secondary

The THINK! campaign seeks to prevent bad habits and attitudes from emerging. As such, children aged 11 to 14 are taught about proper attitudes, driving etiquette, and how behaviour can affect safety or cause accidents.

A common problem for this age group is peer pressure – an issue which continues into adulthood, represented in the form of drink-driving. In order to build up resistance to this, lessons focus on how to block out peer pressure and use common sense before getting behind the wheel.

Children between the impressionable ages of 11 to 14 are also taught how to minimise distractions and perceive hazards on the road.

Another crucial skill for drivers is instilled at a young age – how to plan a safe journey.

Upper secondary

Kids aged 14 to 16 should learn practical knowledge like how to change a tyre, check their oil, along with the importance of vehicle maintenance. Although trained mechanics are always available to assist, teenagers should learn basic skills so they can look after themselves in case of emergency.

In addition, DfT’s lesson plan teaches teens and further develop their knowledge in order to become a safe driver when the time comes.

Posted by Safety resources for young children and teens published online