Desktop reaction timer explores relationship between speed and distance

10.57 | 20 May 2011 | | 1 comment

A partnership comprising FifeX, Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Schools Equipment Research Centre (SSERC), has developed the ‘road safety reaction timer’, an interactive road safety education experience which is being used in Scottish schools.

FifeX designs and creates a range of interactive products and educational resources that aid interpretation, explanation and discovery.

The reaction timer encourages users to investigate their reaction time and stopping distances, and what happens to reaction times when using a mobile phone, tuning a radio or singing, reading a map or using SatNav. It also shows the effect that different weather conditions and speeds have on stopping distances.

Elaine Lorimer, road safety officer at Renfrewshire Council, said: “For many years it has been recognised that young pedestrians have difficulty in predicting speed and distances of traffic on the road. This, combined with inexperience of independent travel, results in many young road users failing to appreciate the potential danger involved when crossing the road.

“As a means of addressing this problem, the reaction timer was developed to engage and challenge young people’s thinking by allowing them to actively explore the relationship between speed and distance. This exciting resource will encourage pupils to think about different factors that can affect their own concentration and driver’s reaction times.”

Craig Harvey, director of FifeX, said: “Research shows that it is more important to stimulate curiosity than to offer a diet of facts that are difficult to digest. The reaction timer provokes thought and, through interactivity, fully engages users.

“We’re already seeing positive movement towards a more comprehensive understanding of road safety as a result of using our road safety reaction timer.”

For more information contact Craig Harvey 01382 554400.


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    We have used the reaction timers and are also integrating them into our new CfE courses as part of the Science and H&WB outcomes. The pupils love using them, have great ideas for challenges and it really got them to appreciate stopping and thinking distances in a concrete fashion and not as some obscure meaningless task.

    Jennie Lockerbie
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