Unsafe behaviour around schools

No one can argue that our children have the right to be safe on our roads especially when going to and from school. What are the main concerns at some schools?

The following list reflects the most common problems around schools.

Inappropriate speeds, double-parking; overstaying on limited time parking bays; pedestrians crossing the road all over the show; drivers making unsafe U-turns; and drivers park across driveways. Does this sound like a normal day at the school your child attends?

People may argue that the school frontage must be free of parked vehicles to make it safer for children. Actually, the contrary is true – more parked vehicles will slow traffic down. However, in saying this there is a condition.

Children and parents should stop crossing the road at random locations, but must rather walk up to the pedestrian facility to cross there. This way there will be no nasty surprises for drivers going past the school like when a child suddenly appears out of nowhere!

Children are taught at school where to cross safely. Sadly, some parents gesture to them to cross where they should not, so the child gets confused of what the correct way is.

Ideally let your passengers exit the vehicle at the footpath or kerb side of the road.

That 5-minute parking bay has a 5-minute limit for a reason. Drivers could pull into that park as a “quick” drop off zone. This will minimize the need for other drivers to double-park. Cannot find a parking spot right at the front gate? Just park further away.

What should your speed past a school be? Although the speed limit is fifty kilometres per hour, past most of our urban schools, a safer speed should be thirty or lower. Just in case the worst case scenario does happen and a kid runs across the road unexpectedly. At between twenty and thirty, the chances to survive or avoid serious injury are better. At fifty, the probable survival rate drops to about twenty percent.

Let us all do the right thing for our children’s’ sake – slow down past children, and always be alert around schools. Cross the road at the allocated pedestrian crossing point.

Our children are precious.

Safer journeys!

Daniel Naudé

South Canterbury road safety coordinator