Keeping you up to speed
As the new school year rolls around again, we’ll all be stressing about getting the children to school as quickly and easily as possible – but it’s worth taking a few minutes to consider how we can all do this much more safely too.
The roads around schools are notorious for congestion, chaos and sadly accidents as well. Figures for the period 2006 to 2011 show that there were more than half a million collisions outside schools over six years – that’s around six accidents per school per year. There were also over 85,000 children injured on the roads within 500m of their school, which is almost 1,200 per month.
With so many cars and school busses, as well as countless children and parents crossing the road, you need to stay alert around schools. Keep your speed right down and be especially vigilant when passing school busses and around the main entrance to the school. You need to be ready for a child to run out into the road without warning at any time, because chances are they will.
It’s not just around schools where you need to be extra careful in term time. You need to take care even when you pull out of your driveway, as there will be more children around who could step into the path of your car as they walk along in a world of their own, or more often a world of their phone. You need to look out for them, because they won’t look out for you.
The zig-zag zones outside schools are there for a reason, so don’t ignore them. These zones are designed to provide a clear stretch of road for crossing to the school, ensuring a good line of sight for all approaching vehicles. If you stop in the zone, you block that view and put crossing children at risk.
There is no stopping in zig-zag zones, even for blue badge holders, between 8am and 6pm on weekdays, and if you are caught, you could face a fixed penalty of £70. These zones apply all year round except in August, even in school holidays.
Of course, the best way to keep schools safe is to keep cars away altogether. You may have no choice but to drive part of the way, but you can always stop short of the school and walk the rest.
A ten minute walk at the start and end of the school day is a great way to get some exercise and to spend some quality time with your children when you aren’t distracted by driving.
So this term, think about road safety around schools and don’t put children at risk for your convenience.