Exercise 1

You are going to listen to an American risk expert talking about the risks of driving in the USA. Listen and answer questions.

1   The most dangerous thing to be on the road is _______.

      a   a pedestrian

      b   a driver

      c   a motorcyclist

2   Most accidents happen because drivers _______.

      a   fall asleep at the wheel

      b   are drunk

      c   drive too fast

3   Driving at night is _______ as dangerous as driving during the day.

      a   three times

      b   four times

      c   ten times

4   You’re most likely to have a non-fatal accident on a _______.

      a   Tuesday morning

      b   Friday afternoon

      c   Saturday night

5   Most fatal accidents happen on _______.

      a   motorways

      b   A-roads

      c   country roads

6   Kilometre for kilometre, women have more _______ than men.

      a   minor accidents

      b   serious accidents

      c   fatal accidents

7   The age at which a driver is most at risk is _______.

      a   over 75

      b   between 21 and 25

      c   under 25


1 a   2 c   3 b   4 b   5 c   6 a   7 c


We spend an awful long time in our cars. The average driver spends nearly an hour and a half a day in the car, so obviously the risks involved in driving are something we should take very seriously.

Driving gets a lot of bad publicity and there are a lot of myths about how dangerous it is – but the fact is that, kilometre for kilometre, it is riskier to be a pedestrian or a jogger than to drive a car, or ride a motorbike for that matter. We are also more likely to be injured at work or at home than we are driving a car.

But accidents do happen and the reason why a lot of them happen is because people break the rules. In fact 50% of all fatal accidents occur because someone has broken the law. The most frequent reason is breaking the speed limit and the second most frequent is drunk driving. The third cause of fatal accidents is when a driver falls asleep, a surprising 10%.

When we drive is also a significant factor in assessing our risk of having an accident. Driving at night, for example, is four times as dangerous as during the day. This is mainly because visibility is so much worse at night. By day a driver’s visibility is roughly 500 metres, but at night driving with headlights it is much worse, maybe as little as 120 metres.

What are the most dangerous times and days to be on the road? Well, between 2.00 and 3.00 a.m. on a Saturday morning is the most dangerous time of the week, when you are most like to have a fatal accident. So if possible, try to stay off the road then. The time of day when you are most likely to have a non-fatal accident is Friday afternoon between 4.00 and 6.00 p.m. This is when people are finishing work for the week and it is a time when drivers need to concentrate especially hard. Curiously, Tuesday is the safest day of the week to be on the road.

Which brings us onto where accidents happen. Most fatal accidents happen on country roads, so highways or freeways (what you call A-roads or motorways) are much safer. Also 70% of fatal accidents happen within 30 or 40 kilometres of where we live. Why should that be? The answer seems to be that we concentrate less when we are in familiar territory.

And finally let’s look at who has accidents. Another myth about driving is that women are worse drivers than men. Whiles it’s true that kilometre for kilometre women have more minor accidents than men, a man is twice as likely to be killed in a car accident as a woman. Men take too many unnecessary risks when they’re driving. Women are more careful and cautious drivers. But the most important factor of all is age. A driver aged between 17 and 24 has double the risk of an older driver. Which is why a lot of people would like to see the age limit for having a driving licence raised to 21.

Exercise 2

A. Now listen to an interview with Sue Palmer, head of Farley nursery school. How is her attitude different from that of Mr and Mrs Suzuki?

B. Listen again and complete the information about the school with a word or phrase.

1   The nursery is in a ________ in southern England.

2   Children spend most of their time ________, even in the ________

3   They learn about the world by ________.

4   Sue thinks children today don’t have enough ________.

5   They need to be allowed to ________ when they play.

6   She thinks that schools are obsessed with eliminating risk because if children ________ their parents will sue the school.

7   Parents at her school are ________ about what the school is doing.



She thinks that children today are overprotected, and that they need to be allowed to take risks.


1 village   2 outside, winter

3 doing things   4 freedom

5 take risks   6 have an accident

7 very positive


I = interviewer, S = Sue Palmer

I    And this afternoon on Around Britain we are visiting an unusual little nursery school in a village in southern England. What makes this school different is that whatever the weather’s like, the 20 children spend most of their day not in a classroom, but playing outside. Sue Palmer is the head of the nursery. Hello Sue.

S   Hello.

I    Sue, do the children really spend all day outside?

S   Yes, even in the winter, and even if it’s raining. They only come inside for breaks so they probably spend about 90% of their day outside. We think this is a much better way of teaching children than by shutting them up in classrooms all day.

I    What kind of things do children learn from being outside?

S   They can learn about the world by doing things. We have a large field next to the nursery so they are in the field all day – playing, exploring, experimenting. They learn about how plants and trees grow, they can learn about insects. They can learn about the danger of fire by sitting around a real fire. They can climb trees and walk on logs…

I    And don’t you think that this is a bit dangerous for young children? They might easily fall over, have accidents.

S   No, no, not at all. I think that today’s children are totally overprotected, they don’t have enough freedom. People have forgotten just how important it is to give our children some freedom. They need to be allowed to take risks during play. My children know which plants can hurt them. They know that fire is dangerous. But nowadays schools do all they can to avoid adventure and risk.

I    Why do you think schools have become so obsessed with eliminating risk?

S   I think it is because schools and teachers are so worried nowadays that if a child has an accident of any kind, however small, that the child’s parents will sue the school for thousands of pounds, and maybe put them out of business.

I    Have you ever had any problem with parents?

S   On the contrary, they are very positive indeed about the school and our teaching methods and philosophy. I’ve heard parents say that children who come to our school are healthier and stronger than other children – and that’s in spite of being out in the rain – or maybe it’s because of that. I think, and the parents agree with me, that the way we are teaching is the way that childhood should be.

I    Well, thanks very much Sue, that’s all we’ve got time for. Coming up on…

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