Top Tips To Survive The School Drop Off
31 August 2018
And so it begins…..September or more specifically the return of the school run. Us motorists suddenly realise how good we had it on our daily commute over those sunny months when school was out for Summer.
For parents, it means getting back into the swing of the old routine. Getting up before sunrise, juggling breakfasts, children and toothpaste stains. It’s no wonder an Aviva survey pinpointed 8am as the most stressful point in the day for UK parents.
For everyone else, it means setting the alarm that little bit earlier and battling through increased congestion to get where we need to be.
The traffic chaos caused by the morning school drop is getting extra press this year with a storm brewing between the parents of St Kevin’s Primary School and the Department of Infrastructure following the introduction of bus lanes outside the school to accommodate the new Glider system.
Anyone who travels past schools in the mornings knows it’s a logistical nightmare of simmering rage and passive aggressive manoeuvring. Between impatient motorists and hazards on - ‘I’ll only be a sec’ – road hogs, it sometimes feels like the whole thing could boil over at any moment!
At times like this it’s important to take a breath and remember that everyone’s journey is equally important and if we all cooperate, things will run a lot smoother.
These are out top 3 tips for surviving the school run:
1. Walk - At least some of the way
In an ideal world it would be great to walk to school everyday with the kids, but for most people it’s just not practical. Brightkidz have introduced the novel idea of Park & Stride. Rather than trying to drop the kids off as close as possible to the school, why not park a bit further away and walk the last 5 or ten minutes. Not only would this cut down on congestion at the school gates, it would also improve the air quality near the school and squeeze some much-needed activity into your child’s routine.
2. The Dutch Reach
Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones. The Dutch Reach Project was conceived in response to the problem of motorists opening their doors into traffic which can do damage to other cars and be potentially fatal to cyclists and motorcyclists. Their solution is this: When opening your door, use the far hand to reach across to open it. This automatically forces you to swivel in your seat and gives you a better view of anything coming down the road. See it in action for yourself in this video:
3. Obey the rules of the road
Contrary to seemingly popular belief, the rules of the road aren’t suspended between 8.45 – 9am. It may seem like stopping on the school zigzags won’t do any harm, but the zigzags are there for a reason and that reason is your child’s safety. Likewise, it may feel good to finally get through the bottle neck but putting the foot down and accelerating away from a school is an incredibly stupid thing to do considering there are lots of little ones milling about who won’t always be road wise. Hitting a child at 40mph reduces their chance of survival to just 20 percent.
The PSNI have released this helpful infographic to remind us all of what we should be doing:
4. Stay Calm
I’m fairly certain most of us have called people names from behind the wheel that we wouldn’t dare repeat if we bumped into them on the street. We often also get irrationally angry with other drivers, even if they haven’t done anything wrong as we are much worse at judging people’s intentions when in their car. We can miss interpret an innocent manoeuvre as an act of aggression and completely over react. This helpful explanation from HowStuffWorks advises that even when other drivers are being aggressive, it's better to let them have their way, even when it feels unfair. Remember – they are under just as much stress as you are – they’re just much worse at handling it.
And if all else fails, just keep reminding yourself it’s only 10 more months until Summer!