I am a rule follower. Ask anyone who knows me. Rules bring order to life. When everyone follows the rules then things run more smoothly. Simple, right?
This is probably why my attempts to drop my children off in the designated school drop off zone result in feelings of anger, frustration and sky-rocketing blood pressure all before my day has really begun. The rules are not being followed.
More than 100,000 students attend school in Halton Region. That is a lot of school buses, parent drop-offs and kids walking to school. From what I have seen in the school zone, I know there is a real need for behaviour change. Lives depend on it.
We are adults. We need to follow the rules.
When driving in a school zone; either around the school or in the designated school drop-off you must:
- Obey speed limits in school zones.
- Know the rules. Every year, our local school sends out a communication outlining the protocol for school drop-off. Take time to review it before the first day.
- Be considerate. If your child is too young to get out of the car independently at the kiss and ride then pull into designated parking and help them safely to the gate.
- Be aware. Distracted driving is not just texting. It’s changing a radio station, fixing your make-up or handing your child a snack while behind the wheel of a vehicle. It’s anytime you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or your mind off the primary task of driving safely. It puts you and others at risk.
- Educate. Teach your kids to be aware and to cross at the crosswalks. Remind them to always stop and make eye contact to ensure the driver can see them before they continue. Use designated crosswalks with a crossing guard when possible.
- Give yourself time. Leave earlier – that extra 5 minutes not only gets you there ahead of the masses, but it will decrease your stress and your speed.
- Remember you are the adult. Role model patience, follow the rules, know that everyone else has somewhere to go too. Resist the temptation to veer out of line – wait your turn.
You could also do what I did. I set up a buddy system in my neighbourhood and my kids walk with their peers to school. Exercise and social time for them; decreased frustration and worry for me. I’d call that win/win.
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For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.