School Zone Safety Tips
When I was a child, my school had a very sneaky and very effective method of ensuring that my friends and I wouldn’t rush out of the school doors at home time and run out into the street (with the obvious potential for unthinkable consequences).
We had a name for it. It was called ‘storytime’ - a sleepy child is a behaving child.
Things have since moved on. Is it just me, or is every minute of every school day spent teaching our younglings to scribble complicated mathematical equations with one hand while reciting Shakespeare in French and building the next generation of electric motors with the other hand? Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration.
But the point is that these highly excitable children need all the help they can get when it comes to staying safe on the roads near to school.
Signpost the school zone
Most schools will have a school zone, with maybe only a singular and woefully inadequate speed limit sign half covered by foliage at the main gate. We can do better than this!
If there’s no loading permitted in a particular zone, make sure people know about it. No parking allowed at all? Get a sign.
I can’t blame the parents for being in a rush, there are piano lessons and karate classes and homework and showers and bedtime to squeeze into a tiny window of opportunity, not to mention sitting down together to an evening meal and somehow finding the time to walk the dog.
So, that being said, how can we help the parents to reduce the rush that results from crowded roads near to schools? This leads me on to my next point…
Circulate a parking map
If you only live a short drive away from your child’s school (or perhaps you walk your child to school?) the chances are that you will be familiar with the surrounding roads.
Given the limited number of possible houses near to the school, we have to assume that many parents will be driving for anywhere up to half an hour on the school run.
These parents won’t necessarily have the same in-depth local parking knowledge as you, and they will rely upon pulling up right outside the school for drop-offs and pick-ups.
This causes delays for everyone and increases the risk of an accident.
If you know of local side roads or nearby parks with plenty of space to park up and walk over a field to school, for example, let people know with a handy map (make sure you print the map rather than expecting anyone to pay attention to an email).
Pay attention (to your child, not to your phone)
Going back to our first idea of hanging a helpful sign to indicate how cars may and may not behave with regards to parking and drop-offs in school zones, how about a handy sign to remind the adults how to behave, too.
A child who is met with a smile is more likely to engage in conversation about their day, which not only means that the parent will have an up-close and watchful eye on their child, but the child will be less likely to run around. Remind parents that the school zone is a no-phone-zone.