Whilst millions of parents across the country will no doubt be celebrating the return to school for their children after a long summer break this week, few, if any, will have been looking forward to the daily chore of the school run.
The picture is pretty much the same across the country.
Roads around schools are heavily congested, with one in five cars on the roads at 8.50am said to be involved in the school run.
It is therefore no surprise that in 2013, Road Safety Analysis found that in the previous six years, around 6,500 children had been involved in traffic accidents within a 500-metre radius of nearly 30,000 schools.
These were all classified as “school run” incidents – having happened between 7.30am and 8.59am or 3.00pm and 4.59pm on a school day.
The school run can certainly be a stressful and trying experience for both parents, and other road users.
Many parents are on their way to work and can be rushing to get the kids at school on time and on their way to their office, distracted by the day ahead. For other road users, the school run congestion is simply a source of delay and frustration.
And as specialists in handling road accident compensations claims, our team at Hudgell Solicitors knows this combination of rushed activity and frustration often leads to danger, and accidents.
All motorists driving by schools of course have to be extra vigilant.
Most drivers know that keeping to the speed limit can mean the difference between life and death in a collision, and will adapt their driving suitably around schools.
However, in a survey last year, in which 470 parents of five to 11-year-olds in England, Scotland and Wales were questioned, two fifths (41 per cent) of parents said their child had experienced a near-miss traffic accident going to or from school.
Of those questioned, 18 per cent said their child had experienced a vehicle not stopping or stopping too late at a pedestrian crossing, 13 per cent said their child had nearly been hit by a speeding car. Almost all of these incidents could probably have been avoided with more considerate, and appropriate driving.
With children returning to school across the country, it is certainly a time for all drivers to think about how they focus when behind the wheel. It is a time when we see accident claims rise, but the following tips should help all make the school run safer for all.
- Ensure you set off five minutes earlier when on the school run to avoid rushing and feeling stressed.
- Be patient and don’t be rushed by others when looking for a safe place to stop and park.
- Never stop on the yellow “zig zags” outside school gates.
- Always let your children out on the pavement side.
- Remember that children won’t always be paying attention, especially when approaching the school gate.
- Look out for children crossing the road and emerging from between parked cars.
- Keep as much space around your car as possible and always look well ahead.
- Be alert for pedestrians stepping between you and the car in front when traffic is stop-start at all times.