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Attitude is everything

Section overview

An image of the don't roll over in your sleep billboard.

Young people often believe that driving skills and knowledge about driving are all that is needed for them to be safe on the roads. However, one of the most important influences on driving ability is their attitude towards driving and the resultant behaviour on the road.

This section provides an opportunity to explore young people's attitudes about driving. It also discusses the growing problem of road rage and explores some of the underlying reasons why it is occurring. Students have the opportunity to develop strategies to assist in managing their own behaviour when in cars.

Resources required:

Teacher information

Attitudes towards the road environment and driving can impact on our driving behaviour. Unfortunately, an increasing number of road traffic crashes and incidents are being caused by aggressive drivers. Typically, young men have been blamed for their poor attitudes and behaviour when driving. However, the number of young women showing aggressive road user behaviour is increasing. Students are encouraged to understand that attitude does influence the driving task.

Students should also be encouraged to understand that in any social situation aggressive behaviour is inappropriate. The car is simply another social context and aggressive behaviour is equally inappropriate.

Activity 1

Students use the worksheet Characteristics of people involved in crashes to develop a profile of a young driver who they think is most likely to be involved in a crash, identifying their behavioural and attitudinal characteristics. They then develop a profile of a young driver who they think is least likely to be involved in a crash.

Activity 2 

Students design a survey seeking information on the behavioural and attitudinal characteristics of motor vehicle drivers who have been involved in crashes. In particular, they investigate the behavioural and attitudinal profiles of three of the people they survey.

Activity 3

Students go back to the profiles they developed in the worksheet Characteristics of people involved in crashes. In a different coloured pen, students add other characteristics to their original profiles that they now believe influence involvement in crashes, as a result of their survey. They discuss what this tells them about the type of person who can be involved in crashes.

Activity 4

Note: This activity is adapted from work developed by Mal McIlwraith (road safety consultant, then Queensland Transport) and Darren Paten (teacher, Concordia College).

Students should follow these steps:

  • Students each draw a face on an inflated balloon that they believe best represents (or would represent) them as a driver faced with an annoying situation. They are asked to describe the face to the rest of the class and explain why they chose it.
  • Students assume the role of the driver they have described and walk briskly within a defined space in the classroom for a designated period of time (for example, 1 minute). They hold their balloon and protect it from others who might try and burst it, hence attempting to keep it intact within the given timeframe. At the end of the designated timeframe, students calculate the number of burst balloons, each of which represents a road death.

Questions for discussion: 

  • What sort of behaviour was exhibited by aggressive drivers?
  • What sort of behaviour was exhibited by more aware/effective drivers?
  • How did these behaviours impact on the total number of road deaths?
  • Were there any differences between males and females in the class? Why?
  • Why is the number of young females involved in aggressive driving activities increasing?
  • Is aggressive or abusive behaviour acceptable in some situations? Why/why not?
  • What actions could you take to avoid aggressive drivers?
  • How can you control your own anger when faced with an annoying situation?
Last updated
31 January 2018