Study Finds Psychological Work Key

For School Road Safety Prevention


goggles alcoholAlcohol intoxication simulating goggles are used in one of the excerices. PHOTO: JÖRG SCHULZE11 JAN - Recently published study finds out psychological approach is key to influencing road traffic behavior of school students.

The study by Silke von Beesten, head of the German Traffic Collision Victim Support Association (Verkehrsunfall-Opferhilfe Deutschland e.V.) and Andre Bresges is a follow-up of major German prevention project “Crash Course NRW”.


It puts the audience in the position of a victim, offender or a person suffering the anger and frustration of life changing injury or grief due to bereavement following a road death. The authors have developed measures to prevent the negative psychological effects on prevention campaigns. They present measures which help goals of such prevention projects being optimally supported.

The aim of the exploratory study is to uncover how people construct their reality, how functional or dysfunctional this constructed reality is, and how it needs to be restructured in order to achieve traffic safety-relevant behavior. Through an explorative examination of the risks of road traffic in conjunction with the information obtained through one's own possible actions, derivations for a changed future-oriented behavior are created.


The study is based on several methods among which the risk assessment exercise at which participants define the subjective matter of danger and the dangerousness of different traffic situations along a marked line between the poles ”Dangerous“ to ”Harmless”. Another method is the ”fatal vision alcohol goggles“. The goggles can simulate different levels of intoxication, produce limited all-round vision, double vision, misjudgments for proximity and distances, confusion, tunnel vision, delayed reaction time, and the feeling of insecurity. The effects observed in the exercise are used for a targeted evaluation and are used to check dysfunctional assumptions. In the exploration, an exchange of experiences about the effects of alcohol takes place, and legal basics and consequences are explained.

Role play

Another exercise is the the role play ”The last two minutes”. Participants simulate a driving situation in which they can actively influence events through their own actions. Students are asked to put themselves in the situation of being in a vehicle 2 min before a fatal crash. The social situation in the vehicle is presented to all the students, who know that all their characters will die due to the crash. At the beginning, the role play offers a perspective transfer from the outside role to the influential driver and passenger role and puts the participants in the position of actively leading a car ride into disaster. The aim is to analyze risk factors and reveal protection opportunities to students that could have contributed to avoidance of the crash.

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