• More than 25,000 students have now viewed the hard-hitting road safety roadshow What if?
  • ‘What if?’ tells the story of how two students survived a catastrophic car crash along with first-hand accounts from blue light professionals regularly involved in the aftermath of fatal incidents and is run by Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS)
  • Over 38 schools and colleagues now include the lesson in their personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) curriculum
  • Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson said, “It definitely shows that the project does have an impact as we have heard from parents that the students were still talking about it once they got home”. 

It has reduced some to tears, caused others to faint and is definitely a hard watch. But parents believe students who sat through the road safety presentation “What if?” have learned a lesson that might one day save their children’s lives.

 ‘What if?’ features the film ‘Invincible Minds’ which tells the story of how two students survived a catastrophic car crash which almost killed them. Their first-hand accounts, and those of professionals involved in the aftermath of fatal incidents, are the basis of the hard-hitting road safety multi-media presentation, which was developed for schools by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS).

Really hard-hitting and thought provoking

This is what some of parents said after recent showings in local schools:

“My son was in the audience and it really made him think about what he should be doing. He is currently learning to drive and I think this is a fantastic programme”.

“My daughter was in the audience and it helped her to understand why I worry so much when she is out and about in her car”.

“It made a real impact [on my daughter]. She thought it was going to be another boring lecture but said it was really hard-hitting and thought provoking”.

More than 25,000 pupils aged 16-19 from schools and colleges around the county have seen ‘What if?’ since it was launched in 2016. Lockdown during the Pandemic caused a 12 month break but now new schools and colleges have signed-up taking the number to 38 who have it on their personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) curriculum.

Marling School, Stroud, was the venue for today’s presentation; Rednock in Dursley is on Wednesday.

Like many before them, students at recent showings have found it harrowing but as a result more determined to treat the roads with more respect and care.

Young drivers are among the most vulnerable groups of road users

Heather Davies’ has been a regular “What if?” presenter following the death of her daughter Leanne, 19, in a car crash in 2013. She said, “I also had students approach me at the end of the first and second show.

“The first girl said ‘your daughter is very beautiful, I am so sorry. Thank you so much’. And after the second show a girl came up to me in tears and just asked if she could hug me and also a teacher asked if she could hug me too and said she was very grateful for my story and told me it was very powerful.

“I think it definitely shows that the project does have an impact as the students were still talking about it once they got home”.

Watch Heathers’ video here: https://youtu.be/y3JP7nc_8ek

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson said, “Young drivers are one of the most vulnerable groups of road users and it is gratifying that so many novice drivers and drivers of the future have taken the opportunity to learn the lessons of ‘What if?’”.

“I would like to thank not only those members of the emergency services for sharing their experiences, but especially those parents who have lost loved ones and come forward to share their stories, for their honesty and bravery.”

Cllr Dave Norman, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member with responsibility for the fire and rescue service, said: “The ‘What if?’ roadshow is a harrowing but powerful way of raising awareness of the risks young people and their passengers can face on the roads.

“It’s good to see that so many students have now viewed it, as it highlights the impact a road traffic collision can have on so many lives. There are many potential dangers when driving, such as playing loud music or being distracted by passengers, so this will help them learn to keep themselves and others safe.”