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Surviving the perils of the school run

Driving the school run is one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. There are more hazards to look out for when driving your kids to school than at almost any other time of day.

Why? A dangerous mixture of congestion, children, lollipop people and more to contend with, not to mention your own child and possibly their friends, all shouting and screaming in the car.

Add into that mix the fact that most people driving the school run have not been awake for very long and may not have had the required amount of coffee to feel human, and you have a recipe for disaster. Or worse still they may be over the legal drink drive limit due to alcohol consumption the night before.

Keep calm, stay cool

One of the biggest problems in driving the school run is having so many vehicles descending on one place at the same time. Also, since many parents combine driving the school run with their drive to work, there is also an air of urgency about everyone’s driving behaviour that only makes things worse.

The key here is patience. You need to take your time and drive more slowly to give yourself a chance to react to the increase in hazards. Remain calm, and be firm about boisterous behaviour and noise in the car. You also need to teach your kids that being dropped a couple of hundred yards from the gate is not a disaster. The zig-zag lines are there for a reason and you should not stop on them even for a minute to drop them off.

Train yourself to become hyper-aware

Driving the school run means being aware of everything around you, especially as you get closer to school. Children can run out at any point, and these days will often just wander out into the road while distracted by the latest text on their phone.

Even where crossing patrols and pedestrian lights are provided, the vast majority of kids will still try to cross the road at their convenience, not where they are supposed to. Unfortunately a lot of the time ‘Stop, Look and Listen’ isn’t the first thing they think about when they approach a road.

Driving the school run means having eyes in the back of your head and a constant radar on full alert.

Put your foot down – make them walk

It is not bad parenting to just avoid the school run altogether if you live within walking distance of the school or there is a school bus, no matter what objections your offspring may make.

Most kids can either walk to school or get a bus if they have to, and just expect you to keep driving the school run because it is easier for them. Even though the Green Cross Code is taught in schools, parents will have to reinforce it into their children.

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