School run among most dangerous times for road users

Children in the car go to school, happy, sweet faces of sisters, pupils of a kindergarten with school backpacks, sitting in the parental car

Nearly 1 in 6 weekday car accidents resulting in injury occur during school run hours of 8-9am and 3-4pm, according to data from the Department for Transport.

Ahead of the new school year, experts at motor insurance are warning drivers to be vigilant on the road during these peak times.

Analysis of 5 years of data reveals Friday is the most common day of the week for road accidents. And school run hours are some of the most common times for car accidents resulting in injuries, alongside the traditional rush hour beginning after 4pm and peaking after 5pm.

Between 2017 and 2021, the DfT recorded 423,770 accidents involving injury on weekdays. 68,650 of these (16%) were recorded during typical school run hours of 8-9am and 3-4pm.

Of accidents involving injury during school run hours, Thursday is the most common day for morning accidents with 7,062 recorded by the DfT. Wednesday (7,057) and Tuesday (7,045) are the next most common days for morning school run accidents.

In the afternoon, Friday mornings are the most common for car accidents involving injuries – with 7,792 recorded on this weekday.

With back to school around the corner, motor insurance expert Louise Thomas offers up the following tips for parents and guardians embarking on the school run:

“A new school year can be a stressful time for parents, with plenty of preparation required to ensure their children are all set up for going back to school.

“It’s not surprising that road accidents spike around school run hours. But every driver has a responsibility to be vigilant and attentive at the wheel to reduce the risk of accidents.”

Plan ahead and leave early

“It can be hard to get the kids ready for school on time. Try to get everything you need ready the night before,that way you avoid rushing.

“Being prepared and setting off early provides a buffer for any unexpected delays, this can help reduce stress at the wheel.”

Check car seats

“In most cases, children must use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first. Child car seats, or booster seats, increase the protection for children in the event of a collision.

“Before setting off, check your car seats are correctly in place and suitable for your child’s age, height, and weight. Ensure that the seat belt or harness is secure too.”

Be mindful when driving near schools

“It’s important to strictly keep to speed limits at all times, but particularly around schools. Speeding is dangerous and a conviction can affect your insurance costs.

“School zones typically have a reduced speed limit, respect these limits and be on alert for children crossing the road.”

Establish a pick-up and drop-off routine

“You can minimise stress and confusion for your child by establishing a set routine. Choose a safe spot so your children know where to find you or your car at the end of the day.

“This can reduce the time spent in often busy pick-up or drop-off areas and benefit other road users.”

Think about carpooling

“See if you can coordinate with other parents to carpool. You could try exploring a rota with other parents to take multiple children in one car. This can also be beneficial if you have work commitments that make doing the school run 5 days a week more difficult.

“Carpooling can also reduce the number of cars on the road, reducing congestion and making the areas around schools safer for parents and children.”


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