The most shocking road-safety adverts

June 26, 2014 | By | In Buying Guides

This week the Northern Irish Department of the Environment has caused controversy after releasing its latest road safety film on the dangers of speeding. You can watch the video above (viewer discretion is advised), but for those without the stomach for it, it involves a macabre CGI-laden scene in which a large group of school children are simultaneously squashed by a car that has lost control and launched itself into the air.

Aside from its hugely judgmental tone – blaming the viewer for the number of child deaths due to speeding – the advert has been criticized for not only its grisly content (it’s been banned for pre-watershed viewing in Northern Ireland) but for also being completely unbelievable.

Shocking themes are not new when it comes to the business of road safety messages, with numerous adverts over the years using scare tactics or harrowing imagery in a bid to make drivers think about their conduct on the road. However, most authorities do a better job of it than the Northern Irish. Below is our roundup of some of the most shocking road safety messages ever aired.

Be warned, the videos below feature graphic and upsetting scenes.

Pub shocker

Unexpected shocks are a staple of road safety campaigns, and this British anti-drink drive commercial uses it to great effect to highlight the consequences of getting behind the wheel after one too many. In this case, unsuspecting visitors to a pub gents’ get a close-up experience of what it would be like to have a pedestrian crash through their windscreen.


“The faster the speed, the bigger the mess”

Another effort from Northern Ireland that stetches the realms of possibility. In an attempt to make the point that higher speed accidents inevitably leave a larger scene of devastation, the makers have resorted again to special effects and a rather unrealistic car crash which leaves two canoodling lovers pinned against a wall.


“It’s 30 for a reason”

Showing in detail the very real consequences of speeding, this advert from the UK’s ‘Think!’ campaign depicts a girl lying lifeless at the roadside, while a child narrates the grim statistics of a pedestrian’s survival chances after being hit by a speeding driver. The pale corpse then reanimates – complete with the chilling noise of cracking bones.


"Think – Kill your speed"

Increased stopping distances are something that speeding drivers often fail to take into account. This ‘Think!’ film from the early nineties shows just how much further a car will travel even if only slightly above the speed limit. For added shock value, there’s footage of a child being run over in slow motion.


Belt up in the back

When the use of rear seatbelts became compulsory in 1991, the authorities faced the challenge of convincing motorists that it was in their best interests to use them. And what better way to do that than, yet again, show the consequences of what could happen otherwise. This film depicts a young man killing his own mother, simply by being flung into her from the rear passenger seat following a crash.


“It doesn’t matter how.”

One from abroad: This gruesome public information film from Mexico implies that driving drunk with your friends in the car is akin to attacking them at point blank range with a shotgun. While the imagery may be straight out of a horror film, the ad does hammer its point home with brutal efficiency.

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