Obtaining a driver's license is every teenager's dream. What is not however is the countless hours of sitting in a classroom or on a computer, learning all the rules necessary to become a safe driver. That is the reason, officials in the West African country of Sierra Leone have conjured up an innovative board game.
Described as a cross between Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders and Scrabble, 'The Drivers Way' mimics road rules by embodying many real-life situations that drivers face. Using pieces that are modeled after classic cars and a 'traffic light' for dice, players have to tackle tests that include obeying road signs and stipulated speed limits, all whilst keeping a vigilant eye on their classic vehicles to ensure that the lights and signals are in perfect working condition. A breach of any kind, results in a hefty fine.
The best part is that aspiring drivers do not have to sit in a classroom to learn the 'rules' - They simply purchase the game for the relatively reasonable price of 60,000 Leones (about $14) and play it in the privacy of their homes for as long as they wish. Once they believe they know all the rules, they simply come to the office, take the test and if they pass, drive home with a valid license. What's even better is that kids as young as ten can start honing in their skills, long before they are eligible to drive. Sarah Bendu, executive director of Sierra Leone's Road Transport Authority who is an avid fan of the game, believes that it will result in some real strong drivers.
The brainchild of Morie Lenghor, Sierra Leone's Assistant Inspector of Police, 'The Drivers Way' was created as a way to combat the high rate of fatal road accidents in the country. Mr. Lenghor believes that many of them are a result of the drivers simply being ignorant of highway rules that they do not have the patience to learn. They therefore don't know what the right protocol is, even when faced with simple situations like broken traffic lights, which happens to be a frequent occurrence in the country.
Also, given the fact that many of them can bribe their way to a license without even taking a test, does not make things easier. Authorities are hoping that introducing an engaging game aspect will make it more fun and incentivize youngsters to learn the rules. Unfortunately, the officials have not released any pictures of this unusual board game, but we have a feeling that it is pretty cool! Maybe other countries will adopt similar techniques to make 'Driver's Ed' less cumbersome.
Resources: Gizmondo.com, odditycentral.com