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National Health Education Standards (NHES) 9-12

Standard 2: Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.
2.12.2. Analyze how the culture supports and challenges health beliefs, practices, and behaviors.
2.12.3 Analyze how peers influence healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
2.12.7 Analyze how the perceptions of norms influence healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
2.12.8 Analyze the influence of personal values and beliefs on individual health practices and behaviors.

Standard 5: Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
5.12.5 Predict the potential short-term and long-term impact of each alternative on self and others.


Students will be able to:

  • Define defensive driving, including:
    • Slowing down, especially during poor weather condition, or at night
    • Maintaining a safe distance from cars ahead
    • Concentrating on driving at all times
    • Never driving if impaired by a lack of sleep
    • Never driving if impaired by drugs or alcohol
    • Checking mirrors frequently to be aware of other drivers
    • Preparing to react on other driver errors
    • Keeping an eye out for pedestrians and animals along the roadside
    • “Eyes up, visualize ahead.” This allows you to see and best prepare for what is just seconds in front of you.
  • Identify risky attitudes and behavior that cause problems on the road
  • Discuss ways to improve driving safety
  • Determine ways to evaluate situations before they fully develop

Activity 1

Review the National Safety Council's methods for avoiding collisions and make a list of the suggested methods. The list should include the following:

  • Recognizing a hazard
  • Knowing how to remain calm and objective about other drivers' behaviors
  • Acting correctly before a situation is out of control

As a class, brainstorm examples of ways you can achieve each of the above. Create a master list that contains examples of each method. Now, as a class, create a digital poster, using the list. Share your digital poster on your school's website.

Activity 2

Divide into small groups and list as many common driving errors as you can. Once each group has made its list, one person from each group will share its list. Compile the lists from each group, omitting duplicates, and post the list for all students to see.

Select three common driving errors from this list that you have committed in the past. Now that you have learned about the dangers of driving errors, conduct an experiment to see if this knowledge will impact your driving. Create a chart that contains three common driving errors. At the end of each day, place a check in the appropriate box if you committed the driving error. At the end of the week, analyze the data and draw conclusions about all of the driving errors. Did your driving improve as a result of studying the common errors? Share your results with the class.

Activity 3

To culminate the unit on defensive driving, divide into groups and create a digital montage of what you have learned. Each group should use Microsoft Photo Story 3 (free download) [link to or Apple iMovie (download for additional cost) to create a class presentation that includes responses to the following questions:

  • What is the definition of defensive driving and what are some examples?
  • Is defensive driving only for new drivers? Why or why not?
  • How can passengers help with defensive driving?
  • How do you communicate to other drivers your existence or intentions?
  • What is the two-second rule?

Ask a member of the local highway patrol or police force to come to your class to hear the presentations. Ask for the patrolman's feedback as each group completes its presentation. Have your students ask their peers to answers some of these questions on the video to get a real-world response on why teens do what they do when driving.

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