independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Road safety eye-opener for students

Amber O'Donoghue in the driving seat with her passenger Katelyn Nolan in the RSA crash simulator at Castleisland Community College last week. Photo: John Reidy

LAST week the senior students in Castleisland Community College participated in a class with a difference.

They had the opportunity to literally experience being involved in a serious road accident. It was part of an exhibition/demonstration organised by the Road Safety Authority. RSA staff brought their huge, mobile road show to the grounds of the college for two days.

Meghan Healy-Brennan was one of the transition year students involved in the exercise and she wrote the following account of the eye-opening experience for her and her fellow students.

"The car rollover simulator really stole the show. Each student experienced one turn in the car and felt afterwards that they really benefitted from it. The car rotated 360 degrees but it travelled at a force of 1g in comparison to a real accident which could be six to twelve times more powerful than this. It gave students a real understanding of how dangerous the road is and how quickly your life can be taken from you in a car accident. The RSA supervisors explained to students how you should fasten your seat belt in a safe way and how one should not panic if they were in an accident.

My personal experience of the rollover simulator was very much the same as every other student. I felt excited to experience something that hopefully would never happen to me. I was enthusiastic to get into the car but as I sat there waiting for it to turn 360 degrees I became a little nervous. I was worried that something could go wrong. As the car started to turn I had butterflies in my stomach.

As I was sitting there turned upside down, my head almost against the roof of the car I started to panic a little. The three others that accompanied me in the car all felt the same way. As soon as the car had done a full rotation I felt relieved that it was over. I had a slight headache but that was gone a few moments later. It was a fantastic experience.

Talking to some of the students afterwards they felt that they now had a better understanding of how dangerous the road can be. Some students even stated that even with your seatbelt on you can still be badly affected.

Students also got to experience different tests in the RSA van. These included a motor bike simulator, a car simulator, a brake reaction test, a practice version of the theory test and many more fun and educational activities. It really was a class that we will remember."

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