Coola Students find Road Safety Simulators Cool
Coola Post Primary School has enjoyed a very successful visit to the School from the Road Safety Authority to help generate a wider awareness of road safety issues for the benefit of all students.
The School will be working on the Green-Schools Travel theme this coming September, when students and staff will learn more about the benefits of sustainable travel, and An Taisce’s Travel Education Officer Imelda Ryan-Jones organised the visit of the RSA Rollover and Shuttle Bus to the school.
"The Rollover had its National début in Ballymote last year at Corran College, and local Councillors Martin Baker, Gerard Mullaney and Tomás Colleary who all have sons or daughters in Coola, were very keen for me to schedule in a visit for Coola." said Imelda, adding "as I will be working closely with Coola soon it is great grounding for the school to get a wider understanding of road safety before embarking on future sustainable travel initiatives".
The Rollover enables students and staff to sit into a replica vehicle, fasten their seat belts and prepare to be shocked as they experience the vehicle doing a full 360˚ turn. The device simulating a car crash, so those inside really do experience firsthand the power of the seat belt and the important role it plays in keeping passengers safe.
"It doesn’t bear thinking about when you consider that speed and impact would also be added to the equation in a collision" said Damian McGoldrick, Principal at Coola, "If you wear a seat belt you certainly strengthen your chances of survival & hopefully lessen the chance of serious injury". Cllr Martin Baker, who is also on the Board of Management at Coola said "This road safety event in Coola has had a very positive impact on raising awareness for staff and students alike, all thanks to the Road Safety Authority and Green-Schools".
The RSA Rollover in action at Coola Post Primary School
Students too had reactions "That was really scary, I will soo belt up, every time, when I get on the bus. I usually do but this has helped reinforce the habit" said Lorraine O’Reilly from Gleann who is a 4th year student in the school "and I’m sure it will be the same reaction for everyone who partakes in the rollover experience".
"It was definitely educational to learn about how to react if we ever have the misfortune of finding ourselves upside down in a vehicle with our seatbelts on" said Mark O’Donnell, from Theur and in Second Year.
The students were genuinely interested in hearing what the Rollover staff had to say. Due to the pressure on you from the seatbelt when upside down it is vital that you transfer your body weight by pushing against the roof with one hand and against the seats in front or dashboards with your feet. Only then release the seat belt so you can leave the vehicle. Some people try to get the belt off without transferring body weight, and often they cannot open the belt, think that the belt is broken and, quite naturally, panic. Others who do manage to open the belt then fall headfirst and can sustain spin injuries from this, all because they did not shift their weight and secure themselves before opening the belt.
Deputy Principal, Music Teacher and parent of a young son, Michael Rooney said "As a teaching tool the Rollover sings of common sense, it really helps you understand that it is so important to ensure your child wears a seatbelt properly – if you put it under the arm instead of the correct position over the arm, the pressure would certainly break a child’s ribs".
The Shuttle Bus also captivated the students with a fully interactive road safety educational experience. Students enjoyed the interactive Bicycle Simulator, Break Reaction Time Calculator, Car Simulators, films promoting road safety, theory test questions and were delighted also to test their hazard perception skills on the Motorbike Simulator.
First Year students from Coola about to embark on the Rollover experience
Coola Transition Year students were trained by Shane Bourke of the the RSA to assist him by helping to guide and steward students through the various activities on the Shuttle Bus. They also invited pupils from the neighbouring primary school, Sooey NS, to partake in the Road Safety Shuttle Bus and to watch the RSA Rollover in action. The 5th and 6th class pupils were accompanied by their class teacher Aiveen Scanlon, who partook in the Rollover experience to demonstrate to all the pupils watching.
Shane Gately, acting principal at the primary school and long time Green-Schools Coordinator, said "We were delighted to avail of this great resource. Sooey NS will be going forward for the Green Flag for Sustainable Travel this term and strengthening our pupils understanding of road safety issues is high on our agenda".
Secondary schools throughout Co Sligo can find out more about booking this highly beneficial resource at the Road Safety Authority of Irelands website www.rsa.ie
Top Photo: (l-r) Back row Damien Mc Goldrick, Cllr Martin Baker, Imelda Ryan-Jones of An Taisce, Cllr Tomás Colleary and Front row, 1st year students at Coola Post Primary School at the recent RSA event at Coola.