What exactly is it about school drop-off and pick-up that seems to bring out the worst in our driving skills??
Between our two oldest children and because of two moves, we have attended a total of 5 schools. All wonderful schools full of kind teachers and administrators, and with parents that I have greatly enjoyed getting to know and interact with, but also, unfortunately, all with people driving around the school perimeter like drunken rally car drivers!!!
I have seen parents literally texting as their car is rolling towards kids in a cross-walk, people pulling out onto a one-way street the wrong-way so they could cut into an alley and get around the school traffic more quickly, and parents running across the street fifteen feet way from the cross-walk because it was easier.
One of the scarier scenarios I have seen was when a mom, who was the volunteer crossing guard, was standing at the crosswalk in front of the bus line, and in lieu of safely escorting kids across she was looking the other way and talking to a friend on the sidewalk. A group of kids walked across, assuming it was fine since she was standing there, and simultaneously, another parent, not exactly driving slowly and cautiously, was coming around the side of the bus lane and had to slam on their breaks so quickly that the car actually looked like it hopped. Thankfully, everyone was fine.
School drop-off and pick-up are crazy hectic times, it’s never easy. If there’s something I’m guilty of in that melee, it’s probably angrily yelling at my phone and car when my blue-tooth isn’t working, thus, hindering my attempt to actually try to drive more safely, but also distracting me. Which is really my point, the two extra minutes you spend getting out of the kiss-and-go slowly before heading to work, or the blue-tooth argument I put off for a few minutes, it’s really not going to make or break our day. And a more cautious approach is not only safer, it also models for our kids the way we want them to be careful when we aren’t there shepherding the process!
This week our daughter’s Room Mom sent out an email about safety to the parents in our class. Clearly, it was a much needed reminder based on what she has seen, and I think it’s probably applicable across the board. Here are her bullet points:
Use the Crosswalks. Please use the crosswalks when crossing the street to get to/from the school. Drop-off and pick-up are hectic times and we need to keep our children safe (parents, too!). Even if it is inconvenient, its better to be a good example and keep it safe.
Slow Down. Please remember to drive slow through the school zone. Not only is is against the law, but it is far too dangerous to have cars zipping through the streets surrounding our school.
Look and Use Turn Signals. Please use your turn signals and look before pulling out of spots and off of side streets. Too many close calls have occurred because of parents whipping out in front of people without signaling or properly looking.
Leave Your Phone at Home..or at Least in the Console. Too many times parents are seen talking or texting on their phone while driving in vicinity of our school. It only takes a moment of looking away for an accident to happen.
Not Just a School Zone. Please remember this is a residential area, too. Be respectful of the neighbors who live near our school!
Stay safe out there!