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Road Safety for Secondary Students

Grade 9 to 12

The number of teenage drivers involved in crashes while texting has been increasing. Driving distractions are becoming as much of a threat to teenage drivers, passengers and other road users as drinking and driving has been in recent years.

Similarly, injuries to children riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are on the rise nationally, with boys aged 15 to 19 the most at risk. Speed, inexperience, inadequate protective equipment, non-use of helmets and alcohol are common factors.

The lessons in this resource address road safety education and embed literacy instruction into curriculum delivery. Topics include alcohol and drug impaired driving, driving distractions, drowsy driving, aggressive driving, ATVs and snowmobiles.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The overall strategy approaches will:

  • Include a range of cooperative and collaborative learning strategies addressing differentiated instruction and multiple intelligences;
  • Be flexible in approach, allowing for co-construction of meaning and exploration of a variety of perspectives;
  • Address adolescent literacy development and challenges;
  • Reflect thoughtful and coherent use of literacy and learning strategies — explicit, systematic, understanding of the conditions for effective strategy instruction, modeling and application;
  • Focus on open-ended questions that engage all learners in higher-order thinking and that prompt learners to explore various ways of thinking, such as describing, analyzing, integrating, comparing and explaining;
  • Provide support as needed to help each student grow beyond his or her current level of achievement, while gradually releasing responsibility to the student to help foster independent learning;
  • Coach and provide descriptive feedback to small groups of students or independent students during guided and independent activities;
  • Be flexible in terms of instructional approaches, groupings and resources.

The overall teaching and learning strategy will help students to:

  • Develop conceptual understanding, make connections, reorganize information, think critically and engage in the stance of critical literacy that compels social action;
  • Participate in cooperative learning and engage in productive interaction and talk;
  • Communicate and think through the processes of speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing and representing;
  • Increase their focus on problem solving and higher-order thinking;
  • Reshape and reframe their thinking through collaborative learning activities.

Work in small groups or whole class activities in order to:

  • Build inclusive, collaborative communities;
  • Appreciate and build upon student differences;
  • Develop and use higher-order thinking skills;
  • Experience social, emotional and academic success;
  • Develop deep understanding of key teachings.

Cross-Curricular Linkages

This teaching resource contains a set of lesson plans to support the delivery of literacy, while reinforcing key road safety messages. Road safety education is an excellent vehicle for developing general goals and skill sets for literacy and working toward building a safe, strong and healthy future for Ontario’s young people.

Road safety can be delivered in all subjects across the curriculum as there are direct links to citizenship, geography, english, drama, social sciences, health education, information communication technology (ICT), math and science.

Below are some suggestions as to how to modify the student activities to address expectations from other curricular areas.


Design a survey to determine the percentage of student drivers in their schools who engage in the following driver distractions:

  • Chatting with passengers;
  • Talking on your phone;
  • Texting;
  • Fiddling with the radio;
  • Eating food or drinking.

Use the data to plot a graph comparing the percentages.

Media Technology

  • Create a podcast to promote wearing an appropriate helmet when riding an ATV.


  • Write and perform a short skit during Road Safety Week to promote the dangers of drinking and driving.


  • Research the effects of drugs and alcohol. Encourage students to create an improvisation situation where one or more characters are involved with substance use. Encourage audience participation by allowing them to decide what the character does next.


  • Research the use of ATVs in Ontario; specifically, the regions where the use of ATVs is significantly high. Have students create a mural of a map of Ontario and indicate these areas. The mural should reflect the contrast between rural and urban areas in terms of the prevalence of ATVs. Attach pictures of the type of terrain in the areas with the highest density of ATVs.


  • Design activities based on scientific research to demonstrate how drinking and driver distraction affects reaction time to road situations.


  • Research and debate with students the pros and cons of raising the drinking age to 21 in Ontario.

Health and Physical Education

  • Respond to scenarios using decision-making and problem-solving skills to reduce the risk of injury in a variety of situations.

*See “Adaptation Tips” for a list of tips and aspects to consider when adapting activities to fit your class needs.

School Activities

  • Invite a victim of drunk driving to speak to the school during Road Safety Week.
  • Have all graduating students promote a “Safe Prom” event focusing on the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Conduct a writing contest in which students write an essay on the importance of seat belts or other safe driving behaviours. The author of the best essay receives a prize or other recognition.

See the Community Engagement Kit for more ideas, tools and tips to bring together the community for a road safety event.

See Adaptation Tips for a list of tips and aspects to consider when adapting these activities to fit your class needs.