The School Run: A Rant

The School Run: A Rant

I have an admission to make. I drive my daughter the mile to school each morning. I wish I didn’t have to, but after she’s gone through the gates, I have 10 minutes to get to the car and into work. And even Usain Bolt couldn’t get there that fast. So I drive. Perhaps I’ll consider cycling in the future if I can get my fitness to a point that will allow me to arrive at work with functioning legs and lungs. But for now, I take the car, but park far enough away from the school not to get caught in the traffic.

However, this is not about that. I was just illustrating the fact that I am not coming from a holier than thou walking mum perspective. I drive because I have to, and I know others do too. But it isn’t an excuse to be reckless, or in fact, downright bloody dangerous. Yet I sometimes feel alone in this belief.

school run rant

I have seen men (presumably, dads) driving vans with a fag in one hand and their child on their lap, neither of them wearing a seatbelt. This is to a school for children under eight. So, small children, that may fit between you and the steering wheel, but unless your brains are also located there, you wouldn’t endanger your child’s life like that, would you? Apparently, they would.

In order to ensure more children’s lives are threatened, there are also the oh so important parents who have some kind of special dispensation that means the yellow zigzag lines directly outside the school are reserved for them to park on; after all, god forbid their precious children, climbing around inside the car, should actually have to walk any distance at all. Or that you should miss having a gossip with the other parents that have these extra-special rights.

school run rant

Recently, the council, who are renowned for being a bit rubbish, actually did something good. They painted double yellow lines on the corners of the road leading to the school. Prior to this, people would park right up to and even across the corner of the road, making it impossible to turn into or get out of the road once you were in it, with cars parked on both sides leaving no space for passing. You see, even driveways are fair game for parking across at school run time.  Yet, apparently, I am one of the few drivers who have noticed these bright, colourful lines on the road as they have been pointedly ignored by many, and the confusion continues as cars try to navigate up and down the road.

All of this chaos makes for extremely dangerous pedestrian access to the school, as cars reverse out of the way, squeeze together tightly to get in a space and make it nigh on impossible to  cross the road safely. I have seen cars speeding along the road and hooting each other as frustrations at the congestion rise.

school run rant

On one occasion, I made the mistake of driving along this road, thinking that being later would mean there would be some parking, only to quickly realise I was about to get caught in the quagmire of traffic. I wasn’t going to rush though, so pulled over in a rare space to let a car coming in the opposite direction past. After all, there was nowhere to go if I didn’t. Having flashed my lights to let them know I was giving way, the driver started towards me, only for three cars to swerve round me and speed along the road. And guess what? They got stuck in the volume of cars at the other end and a woman actually had to get out of her car and start directing the traffic to break the gridlock.

I wish I had an answer to make the school run less dangerous and more child-friendly, but I don’t. If people can’t follow the basic rules of the road or use just an ounce of common sense, then no amount of money or law-making will make any difference. I’ve seen the headmistress out there, telling people off for parking on the zigzags, but they just move off and park there again later.

I just worry that a change will only happen when a child is seriously hurt, or even killed in the race to be the one to park closest to the school gates. I hope this never happens, but am always amazed that it doesn’t.

How does it work at your child’s school? Is everyone this inconsiderate? Or are there ways to make it safer?

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5 comments on “The School Run: A Rant
  1. Jon R says:

    We have the same issue here, it’s better here I’m sure – as a lot of kids use school buses. TDC should really look into that – it really does reduce the traffic.

  2. Isobel says:

    This could be our school! I am lucky to be able to walk to school most days, but on days I work, then yes I too have to drive a very short distance just to be able to whizz to work. We are lucky that a local pub allows use of it’s car park for the school drop, which is what I use. This pub however, being roughly a 4 minute amble (a 2yr old pace) is clearly too far for most parents. Instead they cram up the local roads, park across drives, dangerously near the zebra crossing and just this week a witnessed a man in a huge beast of a car, park right across the corner of a cul-de-sac, blocking the pavement, the view of the zebra crossing and a driveway. His wife & 2 of his children were in the car, and he wasn’t late. Numpty.

  3. Charlotte says:

    Ugh, I feel your pain. My little one isn’t old enough for school yet, but the drive to nursery task us past three schools and every time we go past we see something totally dangerous or idiotic. It’s the selfishness that gets me, we have a lot of mums in their Chelsea tractors who just don’t realise that parking in the most convenient space for them is blocking everyone else? Or is it an attitude of everyone else is doing it, so why can’t I? Why can’t everyone just be nice to each other? Or do what you do and park away from the school? I really hope that when it comes to Betsy’s school, we can get one within walking distance, I don’t think my blood pressure could take it otherwise!

  4. Can’t be many schools that don’t have the same problem. My head boggles everytime I see some one parked on the zig zags outside our school. Parked, not even just dropping off! Council painted new “no parking” lines and they were empty for a week, before the first parent braved it and the rest followed. Notes in newsletters and the hint of traffic wardens are ignored.

    Have to say, your description does sound worse. I really hope it doesn’t take an accident to make people think. (we try and walk most day, but sometimes have to drive, but I do park further away)

  5. This the same at our school as well, it’s like all rules go out the window when it comes to dropping kids off at school. I luckily live close enough to walk and I don’t have a car right now but I used to drive round if weather was really awful and I hated it.

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