It's the end of the summer holidays, and children across the country are heading back to school for the new academic year. This means that more cars are on the road each morning and afternoon, and more people - young and old - are dealing with them.
Having had a month or so to forget about how busy the roads around a school can get, grab your notebook, a sharp pencil, and listen up at the back; here are a few tips to do some homework on before heading back on the school run.
20's plenty - In fact, 20mph is often a speed limit rather than a recommendation, so make sure to keep an eye out for signage. Some limits are permanent, but if they are set between certain times, odds are that school starting and finishing time is when a 20mph restriction is in place.
Good karma - What goes around comes around, and everyone will have experienced being late to school at some point. A bit of polite driving and parking could make a big difference to how someone starts their day, and improve safety too. Remember that at some point, that someone running late could be you.
Growing pains - You've done the same thing for their school uniform, sports kit, and shoes, so it's worth checking that your returning star pupils could have outgrown their car seats. Check that they fit and are correctly before back-to-school day, rather than leaving it to the last minute.
Tricky timekeeping - It's amazing how much can change on the road when leaving the house even a couple of minutes late. Suddenly, that 3-4 car line of traffic you normally join becomes a dozen cars longer, and the pressure mounts at each junction. Preparation will keep you punctual, improving the mood of all the car's occupants each day.
Perfect parking - Much of the congestion around a school is not caused by cars waiting to move, but by those parked up, narrowing roads and routes. By parking considerately, you will ease congestion for everyone, and make life less stressful for yourself too. It's often better to park a little further away and walk the rest of the route, to keep out of the traffic and add a few more steps each day to the pedometer.
Early learners - Start the road safety training young, as it applies whenever walking near roads, not just during the school run. Once parked up in a safe spot, make sure that children are clearly visible, that they check both ways before crossing, and that younger ones are with a responsible adult.
Don't drive - If possible, don't drive to school at all. There are several people for whom driving to school is the only practical way to get there. However, a good many children could just as easily be walked there, as safely and more healthily than being driven. Local safe walking initiatives could well be running for your school. Even if not, meet up with friends and neighbours on your way to school for a more sociable time as well as a healthier one.
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