Back to school: Everything you need to know about road safety

As the school holidays draw to a close, children across the country have begun returning to the classroom for the first time in months. However, school days inevitably bring congestion so it’s important that you take extra care on the roads and encourage your children to do the same.

Putting road safety back on the agenda, we’ve compiled some of our top tips for staying safe on the roads this autumn.

Driving to school

Now the kids are going back to school, the volume of traffic and people out on the roads will increase, especially between 8-9am and 3-4pm.

When you are driving, it’s vital that you’re aware of your surroundings. Make sure you keep to the speed limit, drive slowly and be aware of anyone stepping out into the road. Be extra observant of children as they’re more likely to be distracted and excited.

However, it’s not just cars you have to contend with, there will also be an increase in bikes and buses. With this in mind, always check your blind spot when overtaking and be extra aware of bus indicator signals.

School mornings are stressful, and chances are, you’ll end up running late. However, rushing leads to speeding, and speeding causes accidents. Allow yourself plenty of time in the morning so you can allow for extra time for your journey.  That way, you’ll never be tempted to speed.

TIP: Why not see if any of your children’s friends also need a lift to school? Not only will this reduce congestion, in the long run, it’ll be better for the environment with less cars on the road.

Dropping off and parking 

Most schools also have safety zones directly outside where the speed limit is 20mph and cars aren’t allowed to stop or park during operating times.

Most schools also have specific drop off procedures. You should research where the school recommends drop offs to maximise safety for all children.

If you’re taking your kids into the playground and you need to park, make sure you find a safe parking space to unload the kids. Double parking can be a major cause of congestion, so avoid parking opposite another car.

TIP: Park further away from the main congestion zone. This means you and your children can walk the last short distance to school for some additional exercise.

Walking to school

If you live within walking distance to a school, why not leave the car at home? Not only is it better for the environment, it’s a great way to add in some daily exercise.

However, even though you’re not directly on the road, you still have to contend with all the traffic. In fact, when you’re walking to school, you need to take extra caution.

Children learn from adults, so be sure to set a good example. Always look left and right when crossing the road and always cross at designated crossings. You should use the walk to teach your children about road safety, teaching them best practice and highlighting potential dangers.

If your children have outgrown walking to school with mum and dad, make sure they’re clued up on road safety. Be sure they know the route they’re taking and any potential hazards they could face on their journey.

TIP: Teach your children the Green Cross Codea step-by-step procedure that helps pedestrians cross the road safely. Even though it was introduced in the 1970s, the concept remains the same (despite some slight changes in variation). Teach your children the latest version today:

THINK! First find the safest place to cross
STOP! Stand on the pavement near the kerb
USE YOUR EYES AND EARS! Look all around for traffic and listen
WAIT UNTIL IT IS SAFE TO CROSS! If traffic is coming, let it pass
LOOK AND LISTEN! When it is safe, go straight across the road – do not run
ARRIVE ALIVE! Keep looking and listening

How do you plan on taking your children to school? Share your back-to-school experiences with us on Twitter and Facebook.