Is there a more dangerous profession than "parent taxi" when it's school pickup time? Here's what not to do when you're dropping the kids off to learn.
There's something about dropping kids off at school that seems to bring the absolute worst out in drivers. It's by no means a gendered thing, or for that matter something that seems to vary state by state. Go past any school at around 9am or 3pm, and you're almost bound to see instances of all of the following, none of which you should do.
#1: Double Parking
Image: Jkraut Look, we get it. You're busy, and the available parking spaces aren't terribly numerous in your particular suburban street.
However, that doesn't give you the automatic right to decide that simply stopping in the road is the right way to drop kids off, or for that matter, somewhere you can park while you wait for the bell to ring.
#2: Getting Kids Out On The Road
Image: Ben Francis Most cars have doors on both sides of the car, which means you have a choice as to which side to load or offload your offspring.
There's the pavement side, where they can frolic in the sunshine on the grass, happy and safe.
There's the roadside, where every other car is a potential deathtrap, given the way some drivers speed through school zones, or roar away having dropped their own kids off already.
Kids don't have the same level of awareness when it comes to road safety, because they're kids. They're simply not developed that way in terms of both visual acuity and plain old common sense, which is why it's baffling that so many parents readily get kids out (or put them in) on the road side of their cars. There are doors on both sides of your car. Use them!
#3: Park Across Driveways
Image: Richard Masoner This is a really simple one. It's illegal, but it's also massively inconsiderate to the folks that actually own the driveway. Again, yes, there may be a dearth of available parking spaces, but that's a question of planning, and if needed, accepting that you may have to walk your kids a little way from where you park the car.
#4: Abuse The Drop Zones
A lot of schools will have a specified "kiss and drop" zone where you can quickly let your kids out and be on your way.
A lot of parents seem to view the rules around these (typically; no more than 2 minutes, engine must be left running with an adult in the car) as mere serving suggestions, because they'd like to drop their kids off in the classroom... maybe help with a reading class or two... catch up with gossip... and then return to their cars.
Guess what? You've just made the parking problem worse for absolutely everybody else. That's not something that you really ought to be congratulated on.
#5: Cross Away From The Crossing Guards
Image: Tim J Keegan Again, this seems like a simple and logical step. If there's a busy road near a school, it's usual that at the primary level, a crossing guard will be present to assist kids across the road, stopping traffic as needed.
Time and time again, though, I've seen parents park their cars just a few metres from the crossing guard, get themselves out of the car and then dart across the road like startled rabbits. Way to teach your kids about safely crossing, not to mention further stuffing up the flow of traffic as they screech to a halt to avoid spreading you all over the road like so much strawberry jam.
#6: Pull Out From The Kerb Like A Lunatic
Image: Antoine de Cardaillac Dropped the kids off at school, or picked them up? It's time to rejoin the flow of traffic, and that's where the last little dig of school pickup insanity rears its ugly head.
Again, it's essentially egocentric activity that views your own car as the only one on the road. Of course, none of the rest of us mind if you decide to do a sudden, non-indicated fifteen point turn in your family chariot that blocks the road off entirely, even though there's a roundabout just down the road that could achieve the same goal cleanly.
Likewise, darting out from roadside without indicating, or for that matter suddenly honking the horn to get the attention of that mum whose kid is also in school band.
All of this is fine, and everyone loves it when you do that.
Except, you know, not at all.