Driving the School Run: The Ultimate Guide

School run driving tips

While walking to school every morning is the dream for many families, it’s often not possible due to distance or safety. In fact, just short of half of all primary school children are driven to school, meaning there’s plenty of traffic on the roads at the start of the day. The morning chaos can seem overwhelming at times, but this guide is full of advice and school run driving tips to help make your life a whole lot easier. Read on to know more.

Avoid the morning rush

In the UK, school starts at around 9am with most kids being dropped off at around 8.45. This coincides with the daily commute of people rushing to get to work, so why not leave your house half an hour earlier to avoid the traffic build up at roundabouts or traffic lights? While this might sound completely impossible – particularly if you’ve more than one child to get organised in the morning – it could save you a lot of fuel in the long-run and stop you getting annoyed at tailbacks.

How to achieve this:

  • Make sure your car has fuel and is ready to go in the morning, so you don’t have to stop for a top-up. If you’ve an electric vehicle, ensure it’s been charged overnight or still has enough juice to complete the school run.
  • Check your tyres, oil and water once a week to prevent unnecessary delays.
  • Get everything ready the night before. You probably won’t have time to make lunch boxes, iron clothes, polish shoes and so on if you plan to leave 30-minutes ahead of schedule, so make sure you’re well prepare and ready to run out the door.
  • Choose easy breakfast options. Go for toast, which can be eaten in the car, rather than cereal or a cooked breakfast during weekdays.

Don’t rush

If you do fall behind time and end up running late, don’t panic. This will only raise your blood pressure and make it more likely to speed. Going too fast during the school run can lead to collisions and this is certainly not a safe or fun way to start your day. It’s better to arrive safely than cause an accident due to being flustered.

Plan your route

It’s not uncommon for parents to have children at different schools. If that’s you, be sure to plan your route carefully to cut out unnecessary mileage. You may need to explore several routes to see which is the busiest but use apps such as Google Maps to help you out. Once you’ve discovered what’s right for you, it should be easier to get everyone where they need to be on time.

Avoid congestion outside the gates

As you probably know, there’s usually lots of cars outside the school gates. This can be frustrating, particularly if you need to get to another school or don’t want to be late for work yourself. So, ask yourself if you really need to get so close to the school. If your children are old enough to walk the last half mile or so, you may be able to park up in a nearby street and ask them to travel a short distance by foot. If you’re worried, make sure they text you as they enter the school gates to put your mind at ease. Or, watch them from a distance to be sure they’re safe. You can even park safely and accompany them if they’re young enough to think this is acceptable.

Follow school rules

If you’re the parent that’s always parks in front of the school gates or on yellow, no-go lines, stop it immediately. You could be making life more difficult for other parents and as rules are there for a reason, you should obey them. Always keep an eye on communication from the school (particularly at the start of terms) to see where you should be parking. Many schools have allocated parking areas to make things smoother at the start and end of the day. These instructions might change, so stay in the know, or ask one of the teachers if you’re not sure.

Another important rule around the school is to obey the speed limits. Remember, children are easily distracted and therefore it’s up to you to not drive too fast. If you are caught breaking school rules or speed limits, you could face a hefty fine, so it’s really not worth taking the risk.

Make sure everyone is safely strapped in

The most important thing about the school run is making sure that everyone is strapped in safely – and that includes you as an adult. Leaving your seatbelt off doesn’t set a good example to children and could put you in danger. In the UK, there are lots of rules you should know about booster and child seats too. For example, children are normally required to use a car seat until they’re 12-years-old, or 135cm tall – whatever comes first. You can choose the right car seat depending on your child’s height and weight. If you’re travelling with a toddler, you’ll also need an i-Size seat which faces backwards. Your child can use a forward-facing seat when they’re over 15-months old.

When fitting a child’s car seat, the seat belt must have a diagonal strap unless your car has ISOFIX mounts or your child seat is specifically designed to be used with a lap strap. If your child is using an i-Size car seat and is sitting in the front with you, all front airbags must be deactivated.

If you’re looking for used cars for sale that will make the school run easier, contact Carwise Group today, a reputable car dealership based in Harlow and Maidstone. Buying from a professional dealer will eliminate the risks of buying from a private seller. Carwise Group vehicles, for instance, have been thoroughly safety and performance checked. They also come with all relevant documentation for your peace of mind.