Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, child minder or driver, it’s important that you take extra care on the roads this September and encourage your children to do the same.
It’s a well-known fact that the start and end of the school day brings an increase in traffic and congestion around schools. The ‘school run’ is one of the busiest times of the day, with cars dropping off and picking up kids; kids on bikes or scooters hurrying in or out of school; and let’s not forget those who walk to school, crossing busy roads and having to navigate cars parked inconsiderately, cars driving too fast, hurrying through the traffic. The school rush can be a stressful time.
If there was ever a time when drivers needed to slow down and give driving their full attention it’s now – especially before and after school.
With that in mind, here are a few simple tips to make the morning and evening ‘School run’ that little bit safer.
Using the car
- Check that your child is correctly restrained. If you’re planning to carry any extra children make sure that you have the age-appropriate child seat. Go to www.childcarseats.org.uk for more advice.
- Choose a safe place to drop your child off near to the school. Do not park on double yellows or zigzags as they are there to help keep children safe. Aim for somewhere you won’t cause congestion or danger to those walking or cycling to school.
- Make sure your child is wearing a seatbelt. As a driver you are responsible for making sure anyone under the age of 14 is wearing a seatbelt.
Walking to school
- Walking to school is a brilliant way for your child to easily get some exercise, develop independence and clear their head ready to concentrate.
- If you’ve decided to let your child walk to school on their own or with friends, they need some extra help to make sure they’ve got the skills to do so safely – especially if they’ve been driven or escorted to primary school. You can get advice on route planning here.
- When walking with your children you can help them develop key skills to cross the road safely. Watch your child and help them to understand where safe places are to cross; talk to them about traffic speeds so that they can begin to make judgements (whilst supervised) about whether it’s safe to cross.
- Children learn by watching adults. If walking your child to school, talk to them about how they can keep themselves safe and always try to set a good example when crossing the road.
Cycling to school
Cycling is a fun and healthy way to get to school, especially if a few simple precautions are taken:
- If your child is planning to cycle to school, check that their bike is in good working order. Ensure the brakes work, the tyres are pumped up and the saddle and handlebars are securely tightened.
- Plan the route they will take and consider cycling it with them for the first time.
Mobile phone use
Head up, Phone Down, When Headed Back to School
Before your children head out, remind them:
- Never cross the street while using an mobile device
- Do not cross with headphones in your ears
- Be aware of your surroundings and others around you at all times
- Be extra observant and keep a watchful eye for children walking and cycling to school, they might be distracted and excited.
- Reduce your speed where you see lots of children, especially close to schools. If you are driving at 30mph and a child runs out, your stopping distance will be at least 23 metres. Most residential areas and roads around schools now have 20mph limits – check the limits where you are driving and make sure you adhere to them (add link in here to 20mph page)
- Rushing causes accidents – give yourself more time for your journey and never be tempted to speed!
- The roads will generally be busier in September when schools go back, so pay extra attention and avoid distractions such as mobile phones.
For more information