Warm Up

Helpful Words and Phrases

Listen and repeat.

    • ex. The car crashed into the wall because the driver fell asleep.
    • ex. There are barriers along the road to keep fast cars from falling off the river.
  1. a simulation
    • ex. Pilots learn to fly an airplane through simulations that feel like flying a real airplane.
  2. sound the alarm
    • ex. The government needs to sound the alarm about the effects of climate change.
    • ex. There was a discrepancy between the price on the shelf and the price at the cash register.


Read the article below and answer your tutor's questions.

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The test result of a study by the University of Nebraska discovered that electric vehicles (EVs) can easily crash through steel highway barriers. EVs are usually heavier than gas-powered vehicles by 20% to 50%. The extra force from heavy EVs is something that the current design of the barriers can’t manage. The barriers can do little to stop EVs.

The barriers’ main purpose is to keep passenger vehicles from driving beyond dangerous areas, such as bridges. During a different test, a Tesla sedan lifted the barrier and passed under it. Cody Stolle of Nebraska’s Midwest Roadside Facility said that more testing, using computer simulations, and test accidents with more EVs are needed. This will help them improve the design of the barriers.

The test results came out at a time when EVs were gaining popularity. This led transportation officials to sound the alarm about another issue: the weight discrepancy between the heavier EVs and the lighter gas-powered vehicles. The National Transportation Safety Board said that an EV would likely remain safe and undamaged when it hits a lighter vehicle, but the lighter vehicle could be damaged badly.

This material was based on an article by The Associated Press.


Choose a topic and discuss the questions with your tutor.


  • As a road user, how important are road barriers for you? Discuss.
  • According to Cody Stolle, more testing is needed to improve the barriers’ design. In your opinion, how often should the design of barriers be tested (ex. every three months, every year)? Discuss.
  • The study showed that the current barriers are weak against EVs. How does this make you feel about riding an EV? Discuss.

Testing and Simulations

  • Do you think simulations are a good way to learn and solve problems? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Why do you think testing and simulations are important in different industries (ex. to improve products, to develop new products)? Discuss.
  • Imagine that a group is inviting you to join a road safety simulation. Would you join? Why or why not? Discuss.