Reaction timers teach pupils road safety
Published Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Brake reaction timers are being used to test secondary school pupils' reaction times to help them better understand road safety.
The timers are basically an electronic box and the pupils press a button on it which prompts a continuous flashing light to operate. When this light stops flashing the pupils have to react.
Their reaction time allows them to observe their thinking and braking distances for various speeds and conditions. The pupils then calculate their overall stopping distances.
The initiative was set up by Road Safety Scotland in conjunction with the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC).
Road Safety Scotland allocated seven of the timers to the council and now its Roads and Transportation Services have bought a further 30 in order that all Secondary Schools can get involved as part of the Curriculum for Excellence as it promotes Health and Wellbeing, Numeracy, Science and Literacy.
Among the pupils using the new timers are a third year physics class from Duncanrig Secondary in East Kilbride.
Their class teacher, Patricia Leggat, has prepared a teaching guide which has five stages. One of the stages projects the stopping distances onto local roads to give the pupils a greater understanding of their impact.
Councillor Graham Simpson, the chair of the council's Road Safety Forum, said: "It was great to see how enthusiastic the pupils are.
"Learning about stopping distances will hopefully help them if they become drivers themselves, but more importantly it also gives them an understanding of the impact of reaction and braking times as pedestrians.
"This is a great example of lessons learned in the classroom which can help pupils throughout the rest of their lives."