Monday 15th April 2013
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School runs can be extremely stressful, most parents dread the very thought of having to take and pick up their children. With the endless traffic jams, countless and often thoughtless school kids roaming or waiting for their parents and the increased risk of parking tickets it can become quite an ordeal.

What more could there be on school runs?

There are the hold ups because of lots of people trying to park their cars and the lolly pop lady helping to block up the traffic by offering safer pedestrian crossings.

Queues and traffic jams can seem to be eternal, nobody can get a parking space and if the thought of arriving one hour early is not appealing for parking safely, then the children could end up being very late to the classroom. When a parent is not on schedule, they will often have no choice but to park illegally to make sure they pick up their child on time. However, with traffic wardens roaming, there is the added pressure of wondering if a parking ticket could be just around the corner.

Tension is everywhere on the school runs, 10% of parents have been involved in road crashes. Most parents agree it is more dangerous, tiring and awkward to face school runs each day than to go to work or a trip to the shop. Many people at some point or another have witnessed an accident on the school runs.

Statistics have shown a recent increase that 26% of parents have been an eyewitness to some kind of school run road rage or feud. The latest information also proves that there are more verbal arguments over parking than anything else.

Councils are now targeting schools, so eventually it will be the norm to see traffic warden's patrolling the streets during school runs. The government is aiming to clamp down on dangerous driving, illegal parking, parent rows and fighting; road rage and accidents. Bringing in traffic wardens is hoped to eliminate school run congestion for good.

Tips on school runs

The majority of parents are conscious of the fact that their older children are capable of walking to school on their own. At the very least, parents are aware that older children can use public transport. For whatever the reason, parents are still driving their eldest children to high school even though alternative transport is available. A third of parents blame their tight constraints; they are passing the school runs anyway; their children demand the luxury of a car drive, or parents fear their children's safety.

There are some ways to avoid the school runs and therefore, avoiding those horrible road rage situations. A company called Charity Road Safety GB promotes a scheme called the 'Walking Bus'. So what is the Walking Bus idea? Basically, it involves a responsible adult walking a large number of children to and from school. There are meeting points arranged along the way for the children to join on the back of the walking bus. Anyone can start up a Walking Bus in their area, and most local road safety officers are already on the look out for volunteers.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer or a coordinator will need to be CRB checked to give parents of the children peace of mind. Your local road safety officer will be able to help with the risks involved and any assessments that need to be made. Assessments could include: no using scooters, no dog walking, or musical devices and mobile phones etc. Also, depending on how many children there are may mean more adults? It can be quite acceptable to have a ratio of 8:1 children to adults.

Walking is a great form of exercise and is an excuse to get fit on the school runs; it literally also aids health by reducing obesity. Additionally, walking helps keep away many illnesses and aids people to improve their fitness and stamina levels. Furthermore, walking can be fun, especially when the routes are alternated. Routes and pathways are always best pre-checked for possible dangers. The other benefit to walking is that it’s much more environmentally friendly as opposed to heavy chugging exhausts constantly pulling up outside the school gates.

If walking is not an option for school runs, leave the house 20 minutes earlier to avoid the road rage. Once the children are dropped off at school, they are safe and will have a little time to play and run around before school starts. During the school runs keep the children occupied in the car to avoid driving distractions.

The main thing about road rage on the school runs is that is never good for your children to see an argument, so if you are tempted 'Keep Calm and Carry On'.