While some may be intimately familiar with the meaning of the phrase “mock wreck,” it may have passed others by, despite the efforts of some educational and medical institutions.

The UK’s North Yorkshire Police uploaded an educational video to their YouTube channel on December 1, 2022 starring Emmerdale actor Marlon Dingle as the driver in a “mock wreck.”

And YouTuber Green Is Not Nick responded to a comment from a viewer around the same time, with a video titled, ‘They Actually Do This At High Schools?’

Well, apparently they do. Here’s what it means to learn from a “mock wreck” or “mock car crash,” and how some people who have seen them in the past have responded to the phenomenon.

What is a ‘mock wreck’? Meaning explained

A mock wreck is basically what it sounds like. “Mock” means inauthentic, or not real, although not with the intention to deceive.

And a wreck, or wreckage, refers to something, often a building or vehicle, that has sustained heavy damage. The word “ship” sometimes precedes it, as in shipwreck.

So the meaning of “mock wreck,” in the present context, is simply this: a pretend car crash, which people use to educate people about the dangers of, for example, driving under the influence of legal or illegal substances.

They exist in the UK, as per the video mentioned above. And they appear to exist in the US too, judging by the responses to a recent video upload by YouTuber Nick Is Not Green.

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Why might educational, law enforcement or medical institutions create ‘mock wrecks’?

The explanation the North Yorkshire police force gives for its creation of a “mock wreck” is that it is part of a campaign highlighting the “dangers of drink and drug driving in North Yorkshire.”

But the specific geographical location is by the by. 

“We are going to put Mark here through a mock road traffic collision scenario to show you the devastating consequences of what [driving under the influence] may cause,” firefighter Kirsty Shepherd says during the video.

“Everything about it is something you wouldn’t want to be involved, really,” adds Mark, the person encased within the car that is supposed to have crashed. “And it’s not just the person who’s in the accident. It’s the ripples of it. The family, [the emergency responders] – they are human beings too. They might see it a lot but it doesn’t make it any less scary.”

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‘Mock wreck’ scenarios take place in the US too, for the same reasons

A quick Google search reveals numerous occasions on which US high schools have organized mock crash or mock wrecks in order to educate their students about the dangers of driving unsafely.

Lamar County first responders have conducted mock wrecks in the Paris, Texas area; WGNS Radio has reported “mock fatality accidents” for high school students in Rutherford County, Tennessee; and Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety has event together a guide for conducting “mock crash events,” including recommendations for how to “give them greater impact.”

“The objective of a mock crash event,” it states, “is to educate teens, young adults, parents and community members about the tragedy of traffic crashes.”

They should also “reinforce the importance of using seat belts, paying attention behind the wheel,” and “show the consequences of driving after consuming alcohol and/or distracted driving.”

The goal, meanwhile, of a mock wreck event – arguably its meaning in a truer sense – “is to reduce crashes, injuries and deaths involving younger drivers and their passengers by using visuals to demonstrate real-life consequences.”

What have netizens said about mock crash events in recent days?

One Twitter user reports feeling “so validated” by Green Is Not Nick’s reaction video.

“Having to watch your friends and classmates fake ‘die’ in a mock car crash,” they add; “get airlifted to a fake hospital; watch them go to fake jail; and have a fake funeral with parents involved was traumatic.”

Over the years, several Internet users have posted photos of themselves taking part in mock wreck events.

“Good thing we are CPR, first aid and AED certified,” wrote one Twitter user earlier this year. They appear to have been an educator at a mock wreck event. 

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