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A dangerous road

This activity has been simplified from the activity
A dangerous road
devised by Cambridgeshire Police as part of their Superhighway Patrol educational initiative.

More details about Superhighway Patrol can be found here.

Maps are inherently designed to be used on the move and this exciting 999 activity incorporates some of the map skills necessary for dealing with an emergency situation involving moving vehicles.

Students are asked to take on the roles of police officers in a control room who must act upon the information they receive from the scene of the accident.

This exercise will help students to:

  • use six-figure grid references;
  • devise and follow routes;
  • identify map features; and
  • use a map to inform decision-making.

Teacher's overview

The accident is located on the northbound carriageway of the M100 under the railway bridge (map ref. 171 856). The accident involves a petrol tanker, a bread van, an articulated lorry and a small family car. The northbound carriageway is completely blocked and the family car is hidden from view. The car, a red Ford Fiesta reg. J15 SST is driven by Denise Sweetly, with her two-year-old daughter on board. They are found alive and well having been saved by their seat belts.

The accident was caused by a speeding motorist in a large family car, which was forced to brake to avoid a stray muntjac deer on the carriageway. This vehicle will not be involved in the accident and will leave the scene. The owner has been shown to be female but the description of the driver given by witnesses is that it is male, in this case the owner's husband, Gordon Slipper.

Immediately after it becomes clear to the students that an accident has taken place under a railway bridge on a very busy stretch of road, they will need to consider closing the northbound carriageway and how the public might be informed; for example, via traffic bulletins.

Given the danger posed by the petrol tanker, the railway company needs to be informed and trains stopped from using the line over the bridge. The southbound carriageway will also need to be closed because the distraction on the northbound carriageway has resulted in a number of minor accidents and because the close proximity of the petrol tanker presents a fire hazard.

1. Decide how to divide the class. Groups of five would be ideal. It will be helpful to assign roles to students, for example, a student who collects and records messages.

2. Print/photocopy the reports and cut up ready to distribute to each group.

3. Print/photocopy the map for each group. Black-and-white copies will work but colour would be preferable.

4. Prepare simple forms to log information received and actions taken.

On the day

1. Distribute the maps and any forms or guidance notes.

2. Introduce the activity

‘Imagine that you are in a police control room and it is your task to decide what course of action to take following a road accident. Information will come to you in the form of incident reports.

During this activity you will need to make decisions about how you are going to keep the traffic moving, perhaps using a diversion. You may also need to consider the impact on other forms of travel.'

Once you have all the reports you will need to create a Police accident summary detailing:

  • a brief description of what happened and where; the vehicles involved;
  • how was the accident caused and by whom;
  • what action the police took;
  • accident victims and the state of their injuries; and
  • who will be charged with any driving offence.

3. Supply the reports to students, in order, giving time for them to assess the action they should take.

4. The students will need to inform the other emergency services such as the Fire Service and the Ambulance Service.

5. At the end of the activity, ask one or more groups to read out their reports. Report from the helicopter. ‘Fire crew have just released a lady and a young child from the red car hidden from view, in the accident. They have minor cuts and bruises, but other than that are fine. It is believed their lives were saved by their seat belts’.

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