Combining car racing and safety may seem to be an unsolvable equation. Yet Renault doesn’t see it that way. One can enjoy a ride without taking any risks, if necessary precautions are taken. This is what the world’s leading automobile manufacturers aimed to demonstrate with a “safety village” during its famous World Series auto event at the Francorchamps circuit in Spa, Belgium on June 2 and 3, 2012.
An important reference in the road safety field, the Global Road Safety Partnership was asked by Renault to contribute to the Safety Village.While the village was integrated into the championships series and featured a wide array of activities and demonstrations such as a crash-test simulation, test-drive centre, driver safety workshops, etc., GRSP’s main focus was centered on child safety, assisted by Zavod Varna Pot (Safe Journey Institute), an NGO based in Slovenia.
The GRSP tent featured, among others, a pedestrian crossing, a “be careful, be seen” space which taught children about the importance of using reflective material in a dark environment, as well as an arts corner and demonstrations on seat belt use and child restraints.
“We have been trying to convince him for so long that the seat belt is an imperative in the car, but to no avail. Thank you!” described the father of a six-year old who visited the GRSP tent.
Among all GRSP activities, the ones that attracted the largest number of spectators were the “Impact Forces Scale” and the “Drink Driving simulation”. In many instances, adults were even more interested than children, actively taking part in both demonstrations, asking questions and providing resolutions to challenges posed to the audience members.
“It is very instructive,” noted the parents of one young child, Matthias. “If I am not able to walk on the line, how then am I able then to put my keys in the car”, questioned another father.
Overall GRSP and Zavod Varna Pot were pleased with the outcome and the experience was positive not only for participants, but as well for the hosting organizations. “These two days went very well in Belgium. Based on what I have seen and heard from visitors, they loved it, and most importantly, they learned something new, and they left the safety village with a smile on their face, ” said Kathleen Elsig, GRSP Europe Regional Manager.