The initial back-to-school period is always stressful, not least because of the term-time rush on the roads.
To help parent motorists make their school run a bit easier as the new academic year starts, road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has compiled a list of top driving tips.
- Make sure you have the correct child seats according to age, height and weight. Babies and toddlers aged up to 15 months must use a rear-facing seat. This should be in the back of the car instead of the front, as the passenger airbag can be a hazard. Children older than 15 months can use a forward-facing seat. Backless booster seats can be used by children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg. Those older than 12 years or taller than 135cm no longer have to use a child seat. All child seats should be secured using Isofix mountings or a diagonal seat belt strap.
- Pack some healthy snacks for children to eat in the car to distract them and keep them quiet.
- Leave enough time to get to school to avoid any frustration from rushing, otherwise your children will be in the wrong frame of mind for the start of their school day.
- Remember the speed limit and be aware of children on foot. Many schools are in 20mph zones and have crossing patrols around them to help children cross the road safely – but youngsters can also suddenly dart out into the road from nowhere.
- Use the time in the car to start teaching your children about road safety. It’s a great opportunity to explain to them how to behave around moving traffic. Lead by example by parking in a safe place not too close to the school so you don’t cause extra congestion. Park on the other side of the road to show your children how to cross safely when there are other cars about.
Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards at IAM Roadsmart, said: “Traffic always picks up again after the school holidays, so your journey will take longer and potentially be more stressful.
“Make sure the car is fuelled up and fit and ready for stop-start traffic so you have one less thing to worry about.
“Be vigilant around schools, as there’s likely to be children getting out of cars or walking to school.”