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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Back to school driving tips

This week the IAM's head of driving standards, Peter Rodger is offering advice to parents who will be driving their children back to school across England and Wales. Here's how drivers can ensure their children and themselves stay extra safe on our busy roads. 

•    Make sure your children's school bags and lunches are prepared in advance so you are not leaving in a hurry in the morning. Being rushed will only reduce your concentration at the wheel and will make you drive erratically. A little preparation can go a long way.

•    Never stop on the zig-zags by the school gate; it's dangerous and you may be given a penalty notice. Once parked in a safe place ensure you let your passengers out on the pavement side.

•    Be prepared for children trying to get out the car in a rush especially when approaching the school gate. Use the child lock feature and ensure they are wearing their seatbelts so they are secure for the length of the journey.

•    Try to arrange for a car pool with other parents. The fewer vehicles around the school gate the better.

•    Roads surrounding schools are sometimes 20mph so it is essential that you keep to the limit and keep an eye out for children crossing the road and emerging from between parked vehicles as they may not be paying attention.

•    New starters attending reception class are unlikely to understand the dangers of the road. Bear this in mind when driving nearby and keep your eyes peeled for children wandering into the road alone. If you're dropping off young children, always get out of the car and walk them to the front gate.

•    Do keep in mind many youngsters in the autumn are walking to school for the first time, especially those going to secondary school. So don't assume because the children are older they will be more aware of what's going on around them. The casualty figures show us this age group is the most likely to be involved in an accident and this time of year is the most likely for it to happen, so take extra care.

•    Keep in mind that the key time for youngsters going to and coming back from school are from 7.30am and from 3pm. Be aware that bus stops around housing estates will most likely be busy with youngsters getting off and getting on coaches and buses.

•    If your children are walking to school you should still make them aware of potential hazards on the road. Make sure they look both ways before crossing and encourage them to use a pedestrian crossing if there is one.

Peter said:  "Road safety is often the last thing on the minds of parents and children on a busy school morning. But this is the busiest time of the day on our roads – and chances of an accident occurring are much greater. Make sure you teach your children the lessons of road safety when the pressure is off, and they are likely to remember them when it counts."

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