Changing behaviour

Health and Wellbeing encourages students to self reflect on their attitudes and behaviour. How we are persuaded to change our behaviour depends very much on what significant others such as family, friends and peers are telling us.

Identifying risk

A young person has to be able to perceive that they are at risk and be able to identify the risk, before they are going to change their behaviour. Presenting a situation as one that is dangerous may not fit everyone’s perception of danger. It is also possible that the more risky or dangerous behaviours that are introduced during a YDI, the more likely it is that the young person will think ‘that isn’t me’ (i.e. ‘I would never drive without a seatbelt, and speed and talk on my mobile phone all the same time’). It is only when a person thinks ‘that could be me’ that they are likely to change their behaviour.

Showing DVDs of violent car accidents is more likely to evoke the response ‘that isn’t me’ but perhaps enabling people to talk about times when they have felt at risk in a car might bring ‘that could be me’ closer to home.

Graduated Licensing

Research indicates that Graduated Licences reduce car crashes. Hosting a debate on Graduated Licensing in an education setting would be a good first step to changing behaviour. How do young people gain experience of driving in the full range of road and weather conditions within the first 6 months of passing their test, and stay safe on the road? Give the young people the problem to solve and see what they suggest.

Parents

Parents have a huge influence in this area and given the leverage that exists through the control that they have over the use of the car and the cost of running it, a contract between parent and young driver could be the most effective way of changing behaviour and saving lives.

Resources

The Young Driver Issue. Evaluating Youth Road Safety Programmes. Youthsafe (2001) www.youthsafe.org (New South Wales).

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