‘Tune into Road Safety’ messages highlighted

Visiting pupils from Cheltenham’s St James Primary School were today given valuable and practical road safety lessons as part of their SkillZONE tour to coincide with Road Safety Week. SkillZONE is a state-of-the-art safety education centre where students can learn how to recognise dangerous situations in everyday life and how to stay safe. During their visit the 90 pupils from Year 5 and Year 6 learned about the ‘Tune in to Road Safety’ theme for 2013 - that while it is human to daydream and get sidetracked, on the road distractions can be fatal. Groups were taught about catching a bus or travelling in a car safely and to think about common distractions, such as listening to music or using a phone while walking and riding a bike. They also got to experience walking in near darkness and discovered how long it takes a car to stop after breaking suddenly. Lottie Hutton, 10, from St James Primary School says “It was scary and unexpected finding out where the car went to after it brakes. I didn’t realise it would go so far.” Andre Bovington from the Road Safety Partnership says; “Our main focus at this time of year is about walking in dim light on your way to school and to be aware of distractions. So our message to St James Primary pupils is to stay on the footpath and use safe crossings but to remember that drivers can’t always see you in poor light. If you’ve got an mp3 player or mobile phone, do not use them before crossing the road as they can be distracting.” Road safety was only one of nine real life scenarios the Cheltenham school covered in its tour of SkillZONE’s life size village. They also got to experience danger in other situations such as in a: house, train, farm and internet cafe. SkillZONE manager, Donna Potts says; “We are delighted that we can celebrate Road Safety Week together with the Road Safety Partnership in a realistic way that we know young people will remember. This is just one of the many ways we work with our partners to make the people of Gloucestershire safer.” St James Primary School teacher Sarah Wakefield adds; “I thought the whole experience was really good, giving them the opportunity to do all these real situations and think for themselves. “The videos were really powerful and a lot of every day hazards came out from the children that they had never questioned before.”