Incredible, sad and eye-opening – they are just some of the words that Donegal’s post-primary students use to describe this year’s Road Safe Road Show.
The annual event sees over 2,500 students watching a road traffic horror story unfold on a stage. During one hour, the students hear from an excited young man who just passed his driving test and takes his girlfriend for a drive. Then they hear screeching, a crash, and the shocking accounts of emergency services workers who respond to the incident.
The driver is alive but injured. His girlfriend is dead at the scene.
This year’s event also heard the real-life accounts of two people directly affected by road collisions – Denise Harley, mother of the late Kym Harley, and Lizzie Keys, who was paralysed in a crash at the age of 19.
The young audience was asked not to become another road death statistic and not to put their friends in danger.
Donegal Daily caught up with some students after the road show:
“It was eye-opening to see the reality of what happens a lot around the county,” said Anthony O’Donnell and Jamie McCready from Rosses Community School.
Lydia Wasson and Leah Roulston from Royal & Prior in Raphoe said: “It really made you think.
“At the end when the presenter said the number of people in the room was the same as the number of people who died in the last 10 years.
“It was incredible to see the numbers of how many people died each year.”
The girls were impacted by the words of Denise Harley, who talked about losing her daughter Kym in a fatal crash in 2014.
“When Kym’s mum came out it was so sad. Because you have all the emergency services and then you have the people at home who have to deal with it afterwards.”
The events – both real and fictional, which were talked about on stage, struck a chord with some students. Recent tragedies in Donegal were brought into students’ minds, such as January’s crash in West Donegal which took the lives of four young men.
Aoife McCarry from PCC Falcarragh said: “It hit so close to home because there are so many students in our year that were so affected by the accident at the start of the year.
Zara Russell added: “It was hard to watch them because we know what they are going through.”
Orla McElchar from Finn Valley College said the event was “scary” and “hard-hitting”. Seeing Lizzie Keys, who was paralysed in an accident, come on stage in a wheelchair, had an effect on Orla and her friends.
“It was sad, knowing that she can’t do what she thought she could do in life,” Orla said.
“It changed my insight on driving, to be more careful and slow down,” said Senan Gavigan from St. Catherine’s Vocational School.
Aoibheann Maguire, from Loreto Letterkenny, was moved by the talks. She said: “I was hit by a car but I got minor injuries and it wasn’t very serious. But after that, I just kept thinking what if I was in that wheelchair, what if I took one more step. It could have been my mum up there. It was surreal.”
The Road Safe Road Show continues today, Tuesday, at Aura Leisure Centre Letterkenny.Tags: