Running your Road Safety Week: Guidance for schools, colleges and pre-schools

rswpic1Road crashes are the biggest killer of young people worldwide. Schools can play a key role in preventing road casualties and enabling children, families and everyone to use roads without being endangered.

Taking in part in or organising a Road Safety Week is a great way to educate children, young people and parents about the dangers on roads, how we can all take steps to be safer, and how adults can better protect children. It can make a huge difference to children’s lives and help to prevent deaths and injuries. 

Road Safety Week is also a time when you can raise awareness about the importance of road safety among other local people and the authorities in your area and call for safer roads. This could be about persuading local drivers to slow down and look out for children, or calling on your local authority to put in safe pavements, paths, crossings or a lower speed limit, to better protect children and families.

STEP ONE: Check if there’s a Road Safety Week where you are, and if not set a date!

Check our Road Safety Week map to see if there is a Road Safety Week you can take part in in your country or region, or contact your local or national authority. You can also use the map to browse case studies for ideas and information from existing Road Safety Weeks around the world.

If there is already a Road Safety Week in your country or region, put the date in your diary and plan how you can take part. Use the ideas below, plus any guidance provided by your national/regional organisers, to help you get involved.

If you don’t have an existing Road Safety Week where you are, don’t worry – you can organise your own using the advice below, on a week of your choice. We suggest planning your event at least two months in advance, choosing a week when you and the students won’t be too busy. You could contact local government officials and/or emergency services to see if they can help. You could even encourage them to organise a regional Road Safety Week and promote it to other schools and organisations.

STEP TWO: Choose a theme

Whether you’re taking part in an existing Road Safety Week or organising your own, it’s a good idea to consider in advance what road safety issue(s) you will focus on, what you’re aiming to achieve and therefore what messages you want to promote and to whom. If you’re taking part in an existing Road Safety Week, find out if there is a theme that might be relevant for you.

To help you choose your focus, consider what are the main risks students face on roads, and if there are any barriers to them getting around safely, sustainably and healthily. For example, you may be worried about children on foot having to walk or cycle along and cross over busy, fast roads to get to school or around the local area. Or you may be concerned that increasing numbers of parents are driving their children to school, impacting on their health and the environment.

To help you decide your focus, you could survey the children or parents on their views and experiences in relation to road safety, which is also a great way to get everyone thinking about road safety. Download our sample ‘hands-up’ surveys for 5-11 year olds and 11-18 year-olds. You could also get the students to carry out a road safety audit of your area.

You could also explore the resources available on this site, our teaching ideas, or the facts and information on Brake’s UK website for ideas. Or consider using the Brake Pledge - a six point pledge covering six key road safety topics - and promoting one or more of the Pledge points, which might work especially well for older students who are considering learning to drive or are sometimes passengers with young drivers.

STEP THREE: Plan activities

Whether you’re taking part in an existing Road Safety Week or organising your own, here are some ways you can do it, with links to resources and extra information.

Educate the studentsschool2

Road safety is a great subject in which to engage children. You could organise:

  • Lessons on road safety using Brake’s road safety teaching guide and lesson ideas.
  • Road safety assemblies with speakers from local police, fire service or health agencies.
  • A project where students create a road safety poster, film, theatre performance or a local campaign. The students could make use of our guide to running a publicity and media campaign, and could could focus on topics such as:
    • The benefits and disadvantages and level of safety of different modes of transport (cars, buses, cycling, walking etc).
    • The stopping distances of cars travelling at different speeds (using Brake’s stopping distance tool) to show why fast traffic is more dangerous.
    • Distractions for drivers and pedestrians that can pose a danger.
    • Exploring the consequences of road crashes – death, life changing injuries, the effects on families and communities.

See our introductory guide to teaching road safety for lots more examples and ideas, and guidance on the key messages to teach to different age groups.

Raise awareness among parents

It’s great if you can use your Road Safety Week to not only teach road safety to children, but also to engage parents and ensure they are doing everything they can to protect children and set a good example. Parents not only have a vital role to play in protecting their own child, and ensuring their child understands the importance of road safety, but can also be encouraged to drive safely to protect other children (especially near the school). This could be done by:

  • Telling parents what your school is planning for Road Safety Week in your school bulletin, newsletter or website, including explaining what parents can do to help keep kids safe, and how parents can reinforce the messages you'll be teaching in class.
  • Inviting them to an event. This could be a road safety walk or presentation with the children and/or local emergency services professionals.
  • Putting up posters in your entrance hall or on a noticeboard where parents will see, encouraging parents to drive safely. This could include any creative materials created by the students during the Week.
  • Sending parents details of the Brake Pledge, encouraging them to sign it as a family, committing to always use roads as safely as possible.
  • Communicating to parents afterwards how the event went, with pictures and comments, and any road safety messages the school (and the children!) want to put across to them, like asking all parents who drive to slow down to 20mph/30km/h or below in the area.

Campaign for safer streets

If you want to campaign for lower speed limits, better traffic enforcement, better facilities for safe walking and cycling, or any other road safety measures in your area, Road Safety Week is the perfect time. Contact your local government agency and tell them what measures you think are needed in your area and if you are organising your own Road Safety Week, ask them to support and publicise your activity. You can also promote safe driving messages to local drivers, especially calling on them to slow down to protect children. You could:

  • Include a campaign launch in your school newsletter and/or website, with pupils giving views on what should be done to make roads safer.
  • Set up a display in a local supermarket or community noticeboards with posters designed by the children calling on drivers to slow down and look out for children.
  • Write a joint letter to your local government agency (with responsibility for roads) from all the schools in your area, calling for safer streets for children.
  • Get the children to film clips of each other saying why it’s important that they can walk safely, and/or measuring out stopping distances to show why drivers should slow down, and use these on your website, through social media, or show them at an event.
  • Promote your campaign in local newspapers, radio and TV by telling journalists about it over the phone or through a press release, explaining what you’re calling for. You could organise a ‘photo call’, inviting photographers from newspapers to take photos of children holding up a banner they have designed calling for safer roads. Read Brake’s guide on publicity and working with media.

For more advice on running a campaign calling for road safety measures, read our guide to community campaigning.

STEP FOUR: Organise resources

Whatever you’re planning, make use of resources to support and promote your activities and get road safety messages across to children, parents and local drivers. Free downloadable posters and other tools are available on the tools & resources page, including resources for children, and resources to help you promote safe driving to adults.

You can also use our promotional materials, like a poster you can print off and fill in to promote the date of your Week. The Brake shop can also deliver Road Safety Week branded resources internationally including t-shirts, balloons and posters, to help you let everyone know it’s Road Safety Week.

If you are organising a Road Safety Week as part of an existing national or regional Week, check if the national or regional organisers have resources available.

STEP FIVE: Engage partners

Partnerships are a great way to pool resources and promote road safety to more people. Partners may be able to offer educational talks for assemblies, road safety training for pupils, resources specific to your country or area, and support with organising larger activities and events. 

Partners may include your local authority (especially their road safety team if they have one), police, emergency services, health agencies, community groups or local companies. It’s a good idea to get in touch with them early on, while planning your activities, to find out if and how they can help and give them plenty of notice. See the other guidance pages on this site for companies and local groups and agencies for ways these partners may be able to work with you.

Partners like regional and national authorities might be able to spread your Road Safety Week across your locality, region or even country, by encouraging other schools, community groups and organisations to take part, and running a big publicity campaign. Encourage partners like this to use our guide for governments and NGOs on how to do this.

STEP SIX: Publicise your Weekschool1

Whatever activities you are planning, help build excitement and enthusiasm for your Road Safety Week by publicising it in advance, during and after the event. This could include letting students, parents and people in your area know when Road Safety Week is happening, what you’re planning and why road safety is important through:

  • Putting posters up with the date of your Week where pupils and parents will see them. You can use Brake's Road Safety Week poster with space for your date.
  • Including an article in your school bulletin, newsletter and/or website. You can download Road Safety Week web banners from Brake, and a Road Safety Week logo to use alongside the article.
  • Surveying pupils and parents on their views on road safety in advance, letting them know it’s part of the preparations for the Week. Use our hands-up surveys for 5-11 and 11-18 year-olds.
  • Contacting potential partners as above.
  • Sending a press release to and/or contacting local media a week or two in advance to let them know what’s happening. See Brake's guide on publicity and the media.

As well as doing the above in advance of your week, it's a great way to get key road safety messages out to as many people as possible if you can carry out more publicity like this during the Week itself, and afterwards letting everyone know how it went. See our publicity and media guide. Taking pictures of and filming your activities will help show how your Road Safety Week has been a success and promote next year’s event. (It may be a requirement to get permission from parents for children to be filmed or photographed. Your school may already have a policy and form for this).

STEP SEVEN: Evaluate and communicate how it went

Evaluating your Week will give you an indication of its reach and success, and what worked well and not so well, to help you plan for future years and continue to engage partners. It's therefore a good idea to record what you do as you go along, and build in evaluation methods, ensuring you can measure success against your aims.

As well as recording what activities you have run, and any run by partners, and the reach and levels of involvement in these, you could also assess the amount of publicity achieved, and gather feedback from students, parents, people in the area, partners and anyone else involved. You could do this by sending a simple feedback survey to each of these groups, for example asking them to tell you what activities they were involved in or what communications they came across (as relevant), and to rate information and activities, and make general comments about how it went and suggestions for future Weeks. You may be able to use a free online tool to do this like surveymonkey.

Once you've carried out an evaluation of your event, communicate your successes - including metrics and examples of the activities that took place and comments from participants. You could present this in a short evaluation report (see Brake's RSW UK evaluations for example), or simply as a page on your website or in your newsletter, and then share this with students, parents, partners, and organisations you're hoping might get involved next year.

We would appreciate it if you can also tell Brake how it went by filling in our short form. We are keen to find out about Road Safety Weeks around the world and share the experiences and ideas of organisers and participants. We may contact you to ask if we can include your example as a case study on this site.

STEP EIGHT: Plan for next year

Road Safety Week is great for focusing everyone’s attention on road safety, but it should be a priority year-round, so use the experience of running your Road Safety Week to consider how you can continue teaching and promoting road safety. It’s also a good idea to set the date for your next Road Safety Week as soon as the last one is over, so you can start planning what you could do next year well in advance.

   -   Browse case studies of existing road safety events for ideas
   -   Get tools and resources for your Road Safety Week
   -   Contact us and tell us about your event
   -   Download this guidance document as a PDF
   -   Sign up for Brake's termly email bulletin for schools