Research and analysis

THINK! tales of the road

Information about the THINK! road safety tales of the road campaign.

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To drive understanding of the Green Cross Code and the reasons to follow road safety rules at all times: ‘You can come to ‘real’ harm if you don’t put your road safety skills into practice’.

Child road safety communication aims to instill good habits in young people when they start travelling on the road, helping to develop safe road habits and skills that will last for life.

The ‘Tales of the road’ campaign was launched in November 2008 and follows a long tradition of hugely successful road safety campaigns, including the Green Cross Code Man and the hedgehog family. The campaign is aimed at 6 to 11 year olds, however the road safety messages it presents are relevant to children of all ages.

A review in 2007 to 2008, to test the hedgehog campaign’s continuing relevance and impact with the child audience, found that it was too young for 6 to 11 year olds. Research also revealed that road safety is seen as ‘un-cool’ and something for younger children to ‘grow out of’.

Whilst children could recite the green cross code they were less able to understand why it was important. Following research, the ‘Tales of the road’ campaign was developed and aims to make this link by presenting the potential consequences of not translating the code into actions at the roadside.

Key messages

  • find a safe place to cross
  • stop, look and listen
  • be bright, be seen
  • cycle safely

Various media channels have been used to communicate with 6 to 11 year olds:

  • to raise mass awareness of road safety as an important issue amongst 6 to 11 year olds, their peers, parents and guardians, TV commercials have been shown on key children’s TV channels and in cinemas that show PG rated films - at the end of the commercials a call-to-action encourages children to search online for the ‘Tales of the road’ website
  • the website contains further road safety information for children and parents, including engaging games and videos - the website aims to empower children by encouraging them to explore the consequences
  • advertorials have been used in BBC magazines such as Doctor Who, Girl Talk and Top of the Pops - in addition ‘Tales of the road’ exercise books have been distributed in schools across the country to encourage parents and children to discuss the issue

Visit ‘Tales of the road’ website
Visit ‘Tales of the road’ YouTube channel to view TV adverts

Working in partnership

A range of national partners have delivered tactical support to help us reach and engage children and parents close to the point of danger, for example on the roads travelling to their local cinema.

In addition to the support of local road safety officers, we have partnered with Ready Brek, Bright Kidz, Apollo cinema, and Halfords.

In November 2010 THINK! launched an innovative new partnership campaign with 4 football clubs located in regions with higher than average casualty rates for children aged 6 to 11. The partnership programme aims to educate and engage with children in higher risk communities and is supported by local road safety officers and COI News & PR in the regions.

Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland, Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion have been using their after-school clubs, activities in schools and on match days to help 6 to 11 year olds learn about road safety, using THINK! materials from the ‘Safe place to cross’ toolkit. The initiative focuses on helping children learn how to find safe places to cross the road.


Tracking research (May 2009) showed ‘Tales of the road’ making a considerable impact since launch:

  • 92% agreed the campaign ‘made me think about being careful on the road’ - v the previous campaign benchmark?
  • 92% agreed ‘it is aimed at people my age’ - the previous campaign benchmark?
  • 86% agreed ‘it could happen to me’ - v the previous campaign benchmark?
  • any key performance indicators around consequences?

Overall parents also found the campaign appropriate, easy to understand and interesting and half of parents think it will make a big difference. For further details on this piece of research please visit the, THINK! research.

The FY10/11 evaluation work is in progress and will be published in April 2011.

Published 3 February 2012