While not all heroes wear capes, road safety heroes have one superpower we really need – the ability to help make our roads safer for everyone.
In honour of National Road Safety Week, we’re celebrating Megan Jolly, Waikato District Council's very own road safety hero who, after completing her master’s degree in community psychology, has dedicated her career to road safety education.
Taking place from May 15 – May 21, Road Safety Week aims to increase awareness, action, and engagement around road safety issues. Shining a light on ‘road safety heroes,’ this year’s theme recognises those who go above and beyond to make our roads safer.
“Road Safety Week presents a fantastic opportunity to promote the importance of road safety, whether educating children on how to cross the road properly, helping cyclists understand the road rules, or teaching drivers how to share the road and stay alert,” says Megan, Road Safety Education Coordinator.
“It’s important for all road users to play their part in keeping each other safe, not only during Road Safety Week, but throughout the entire year.”
Having worked in the road safety sector for the last 20 years, Megan manages a Council led community-based road safety education programme run in conjunction with Waka Kotahi.
“Each session in the programme is informed by key issues in local crash data and Waka Kotahi priorities.
“The issues we focus on include driving too fast for the conditions and impaired driving such as alcohol, distraction, and fatigue, as well as young drivers, motorcyclists, and cyclists.
“I also work alongside engineers and other agencies such as the Police, Regional Council, and ACC to identify areas of concern and reach a wider audience base,” Megan says.
Taking place over a three-year period, the programme combines community engagement, skills training, and advertising to enhance road safety.
“It’s not always possible to know that you’ve saved a crash from happening, but the positive feedback we receive is encouraging.
“We ran a fatigue stop some time ago in the middle of winter targeting skiers and someone turned up who had hypothermia. We were able to assist them, provide advice on what to do, and help them get back on the road safely.
“Another example was where one person told us that if she feels herself losing focus and drifting into rumble lines on long distance journeys, she now pulls over in a safe place and takes a power nap. This was something she learnt to do at a Council workshop.
“Changing potentially dangerous behaviour, along with reinforcing positive behaviour, is incredibly important. The key point is that road safety is everybody’s responsibility and that’s really emphasised in our programmes,” Megan says.