The same daily chaos − mornings at around 8a.m., Wednesdays at midday and evenings at around 4p.m. Traffic around schools is often very congested. Everyone wants to arrive at finishing time, which inevitably creates traffic problems. But there are solutions...
In response to traffic problems around schools, the authorities have imposed 30 zones near all schools, sometimes with variable signage. Some municipalities have taken the idea even further by introducing 'school streets'. These are streets in the vicinity of schools that are closed to motorised vehicles at school start and end times. You can only travel on foot or by bike. A barrier is often installed to block access. However, residents are allowed to exit their street but at low speed.
The school street principle was prompted by some road users' lack of discipline. This does not set a good example for children when there are many ways to drop them off without adding to the traffic mayhem. Here are a few tips:
- There are probably parking spaces just a few hundred metres away from school where you can park your vehicle more easily and safely, rather than 'ejecting' your children right in front of the school gate. By parking a little further away, you have the opportunity to finish your journey on foot whilst talking or just walking with your children. And when classes are over, this short walk can be used to talk about their day.
- Park the car further away, near a park for example, for a morning or late afternoon stroll, which will typically be pleasant and beneficial.
- Older children could be invited to come and find you a little further on, where you are safely parked. Or to travel home on their own, once you have taught them about the Highway Code and the dangers of the road.
It is also important for motorists and motorcyclists to adapt their behaviour at school start and end times. The easiest way is to plan a route that avoids passing directly by a school. These roads will typically be less congested. Secondly, of course, you need to be very careful. Children often tend to be carried away by their emotions and can behave recklessly. They could cross the road at any time or forget about the traffic around them. So reduce your speed and be ready to act, whilst still focusing on your driving.