With students in Year 12 turning seventeen in the upcoming months, many of us will find ourselves taking driving lessons, earning licences and being passengers in our peers’ cars. Hence, our year group was given an earnest reminder of the importance of sensibility on the road by attending one of the ‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive’ presentations at the Wycombe Swan Theatre. It is part of a wider initiative by the Thames Valley and Hampshire Police, local councils and emergency services to influence the behaviour and attitude of new drivers on the road.

In the performance a short film was played, which featured a group of teenagers who were driving to a party when they became involved in a horrible car crash, and the devastating repercussions that followed the incident. This was intermingled with real people recounting their own, shocking stories about collisions; starting with members of the emergency services, we heard a paramedic, a firefighter and a senior police officer detail particular scenes they had attended in their career resulting from poor decision making behind the wheel, reminding us how crucial it is to follow speed limits, wear seatbelts and avoid distractions like mobile phones.

As the production progressed we heard from people who had been more directly affected by such incidents, such as the heartbreaking story of someone who had been left disabled after a collision herself, and a mother whose son’s life had been taken in a car crash. Hearing tragic stories that demonstrated the severe implications of reckless driving had a profound effect on myself and the rest of the audience, and helped us recognise the great responsibility that comes with holding a driver’s license. On a more uplifting note, events like this are a large contributing factor to the fall in total road casualties to 1,713 in the Thames Valley and Hampshire areas in 2013, the lowest figure since records began.