Volkswagen Philippines, exclusive importer and distributor of the number one European car brand in the country, kicked off last May 20 and 21 its upgraded version of its award-winning Child Safety Initiative (CSI) campaign at the atrium of the Robinsons Magnolia Mall in Quezon City.
During the two-day event that started from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the CSI activities added a new program, the Steps to Safety for children 9 to 12 years old. The Steps to Safety provided the ideal next step for participants of the Junior Driving Course (for children 4 to 8 years old).
Designed primarily for older children and those who have “graduated” from the Junior Driving Course, the Steps to Safety now focuses on pedestrian safety.
During the day-long event, simultaneous activities for both the Junior Driving Course and Steps to Safety were held for the children and their parent participants. At the Junior Driving Course, batches of children were made to drive and navigate a miniature simulated roadway within a community, complete with road signages and stoplights, using Volkswagen push cars. “Graduates” of the course were given their Junior Drivers’ Licenses.
At the Steps to Safety, the program began with each batch of participants attending a 15-minute seminar using modules focusing on pedestrian road safety. By using easy-to-understand and easy-to-recall instructions, the modules emphasized: Plan (finding the safest place to cross); Stop (before stepping onto the road), and; Look (to the left and right before crossing).
Other key instructions stressed in the modules included: Walk (don’t run while crossing); Don’t Cross (if you’re alone); Face Traffic (when walking on streets with no sidewalks); Single File (with the tallest at the back and the shortest in front), and; No Playing (on the streets, driveways, or parking areas).
The Steps to Safety modules also gave out helpful tips for both kids and parents, such as: Avoid Walking (at night or when it’s raining); Be Visible (by wearing bright, reflective clothing); Be Aware (of the sounds and warning lights of motor vehicles); Make Eye Contact (with drivers before crossing the road), and: Follow the Light (in signalized crossings).
Finally, the modules defined that important distinction between roads with pedestrian crosswalk markings and roads that did not have pedestrian crossing markings: Pedestrians have the right of way on pedestrian crosswalks, while vehicles have the right of way on roads with no pedestrian crosswalks. Thus, for the latter, pedestrians must only cross them when the roads are clear of vehicles.
The kids then engaged in the practical application of the module via a virtual reality (VR) game app—exclusively developed for Volkswagen Philippines by award-winning game developer Haraya—and played on Samsung Gear VR and Samsung phones.
The VR game challenged the kids to walk around the road network of a virtual city to reach seven destinations without getting hit by oncoming vehicles. This virtual city’s road network was designed complete with pedestrian signal lights, pedestrian lanes and footbridges. The top scorers of the VR game earned their Road Safety Champion button pin, while all program participants were given their Safety Pledge Badges and baller IDs.
The introduction of the Steps to Safety and the VR game app entice older children to become part of the growing number of youngsters made more aware and responsible road users, and is also an avenue for the thousands of Junior Driving Course graduates to “level up.”
The Junior Driving Course and the Steps to Safety Program were conducted by representatives of CSI partner Philippine Global Road Safety Partnership (PGRSP).
Volkswagen Philippines’ CSI also featured samples of child seats on display at the Child Seat Corner, in keeping with the German automaker’s global CSI strategy geared towards upholding the two pillars of road safety: Preventing road mishaps through educating parents and kids about possible dangers on the roads, and; Promoting the passive safety inside Volkswagen vehicles by using child seats together with the factory-standard safety systems like airbags, active collision systems and the ISOFIX child seat system.
The CSI, launched during the Manila International Auto Show in April 2015, is a child road safety advocacy that increases awareness and imparts valuable lessons towards preparing the kids—along with their parents—to become responsible adult road users. So far, the CSI campaign has had a total of 7,917 children and 5,955 parents/guardians participating in 37 venues in Luzon and Visayas.
Amidst the rising epidemic of global fatalities resulting from road mishaps, Volkswagen believes that children should be much more than just helpless human beings; they can be agents of change. In this case, they can lead the way to a future with much safer road networks. With the help of Volkswagen Philippines and its partners, that future is attainable. It’s more than just saving lives now, it’s all about preparing a future generation of life-savers. Because with Volkswagen, It’s More Than Just A Car.