Think! Education

Activity 3: Car drama


40–50 minutes


Role play can play a valuable part in helping children to think seriously about road safety as it is a highly interactive form of learning and enjoyable at the same time.

In this case, a series of role play situations are presented to the class with the teacher taking the ‘unsafe’ role on each occasion and a series of volunteer children coming out to play a ‘safe’ friend or peer who responds to pressure to behave in unsafe ways.

To start, put two seats side by side facing the class.

  • Example 1: Travelling on a coach. Teacher plays a girl / boy trying to persuade the volunteer next to him / her not to bother with the seat belt (saying ‘they’re for wimps’ or ‘you don’t have to wear them’). Volunteer responds with counter arguments and the scene is discussed afterwards. What else could have been said? What other unsafe behaviours happen on coaches and how can you resist them? Explain to children that seat belts make you safer, so they should be used all the time. People over 14 must wear them by law, and fairly soon people under 14 will have to as well.
  • Example 2: Booster seats. This time, the scenario involves two peers travelling in a car to the shops with both having to use booster seats.
  • Example 3: Again, travelling in a friend’s family’s car. This time the teacher encourages the next child in role to lean out of the window.
  • Example 4: Distracting the driver. The teacher plays a younger sibling trying to distract a parent who is driving. The pupil plays an older sibling explaining that this is dangerous behaviour.

In each case, effective safe responses are modelled. It recommended that children practise the ‘safe’ role and do not take on the ‘unsafe’ role, as this will reinforce learning.

The Car drama activity sheet (PDF 263kb) - new window can prompt all pupils to come up with suitable responses

Responses to the scenario on a coach might include:

  • Seat belts save lives
  • Safety tests prove that seat belts help keep passengers safe
  • If there’s a seat belt provided you should use it. It will be the law fairly soon.
  • In a crash a seat belt stops you getting thrown out of your seat

Responses to the booster seat scenario in a car might include:

  • Until you are 12 or taller than 135cm, you’ll be breaking the law if you don’t use one, If you’re taller or older, then by law you have to use a seat belt
  • I’d rather be safe than sorry
  • Adult seat belts are not designed for smaller children so if you are under 12 and less than 135cm tall you need to use a booster to be really safe.
  • The driver could be fined if I don’t use the correct child seat or booster, or use a seat belt if I’m tall enough

Responses to the leaning out of the window scenario might include:

  • The Highway Code says you should never do it
  • I don’t want to lose my head
  • You’ll distract the driver (or other drivers)
  • Let’s play a game instead