But few are prepared to ditch the car in favour of encouraging their children to walk or cycle to school.
In England, around a third of all children aged five to 16 travel to school by car, with 56 percent of parents reporting “traffic chaos” at dropping off and picking up times.
Parents arrive at the same time and try to park as close to the school as possible, causing congestion and localised air quality issues. However, just 40 percent of UK schools encourage walking to school, and only 20 percent encourage cycling.
How to beat school run traffic
The AA, the organisation behind the survey, has the following advice for parents hoping to take the stress out of the school run.
- Walk or cycle: could your children walk or cycle part of the way to school?
- Walking bus: a minimum of two adults are required for a ‘walking bus’, where parents or teachers lead children to school
- Find a parking space further away from school
- Does anyone you know have space on their driveway? It could be possible for you to use it twice a day
- Park considerately – delays are caused by drivers blocking the road
- Don’t block driveways or double park
- Share lifts – take turns doing the school run
Edmund King, AA president, said: “The best travel plans are made by the pupils themselves as they can convince their parents what is best for them and the school.
“Just banning drop-off areas in cars means the problem shifts into the next street. Asking both kids and parents when and how they might get to school without the car might produce solutions that work for that community.”
Inconsiderate parents are to blame
Steve Horton, Road Safety GB’s director of communications, added: “Congestion outside many schools at peak times is nothing new, although with the general trend for increased traffic the challenges it causes seem to increase annually.
“This congestion adds to the complexity of the situation which makes it more obvious to drivers that they are in a higher risk area.
“This clear complexity means most road users negotiate the area with an enhanced level of concentration and hence the amount of serious crashes around schools is thankfully low.
“However, a product of reducing congestion and traffic flows outside schools is increased perceptions of safety and creating a nicer, calmer environment that encourages more people to walk and cycle.
“Of course most of the difficulties outside schools caused by inconsiderate drivers is actually caused by the very group that has to deal with the complex situation: parents.
“So parents can influence greatly the risk to children that many of them create, as well as do their own children the huge benefit of letting them walk or cycle to school in a supervised way so that they can gain vital experience in dealing with a range of road traffic.”