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Back to school for many parents and guardians means back to bumper to bumper annoyance in the school drop off and pick up line. School handbooks don’t typically come with the dos and don’ts for the school pick-up line, but they may have a designated drop-off area and staff directing the flow of traffic to get students safely inside. The top priority for the school drop-off and pick-up lines is ensuring that students are safe. For this reason, remembering to put the needs of others above your own is the best way to ensure your child is safe, other children are safe and other parents don’t hate you.

The pick-up and drop-off lines are the great equalizers. No one is above the system. While contrary to popular belief, forming a single-file line in the drop-off and pick-up line can speed the process of parents picking up children.

Consider this quick refresher on school drop-off and pick-up lines etiquette.

Just say no to quick chats

The school pick-up line is not a time to catch up with other parents about their summer. It’s also not the best time to talk to your children’s teachers. Let’s face it, a quick chat isn’t necessarily quick for the parent behind you who needs to get to work. 

Put your phone away

Approximately one in six drivers are distracted. This doesn’t change once a person enters into a school zone behind the wheel. The top distractions for drivers include the following:

  • Cell phones
  • Eating or drinking
  • Smoking
  • Reaching into the backseat
  • Grooming
  • Reading

The distraction of your phone can take your eyes off your surroundings for much longer than you may realize. Pick up and drop off lines are a lot of stops and go, in addition to lots of children being around. To avoid any tragedies, put your phone away while dropping off or picking up your most precious cargo.

Prepare ahead of time

There’s no need to fumble around for lunch boxes or sign field trip papers in the drop-off line. Double-check that your child has everything they need for the day before leaving the house. 

Don’t cut the line

Line cutting can often lead to tempers rising which can make for dangerous road rage situations. Avoid this at all costs. Road rage can lead to serious lapses in driving judgment that can endanger the lives and property of everyone around. This also goes for honking your horn, screaming obscenities or posting on social media about another parent.

Don’t try to go around other vehicles

Trying to get around other vehicles that are stopped means you may not see everything up ahead including children. Waiting your turn ensures that you won’t be the cause of a tragic accident.

Don’t speed through the school zone

School zones aren’t just to slow your morning down, the posted limit is to keep the high number of students traveling through the area safe. There is a lot of traffic during pick up and drop-off times and sometimes kids may step off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic. If an unexpected child in the road occurs driving slower gives you more time to react and may save a life.

Stay in your car

While in the morning drop-off line, you want the smoothest transition possible. Staying in your car means that when the car in front of you moves, you move. Keeping the flow of traffic moving will keep the parent drop-off and pick-up lines from impeding the flow of traffic on public roads feeding into the school.

Avoid double parking

If your child is in a grade level that requires you to park and get out of your vehicle to get your child or take your child into the building, avoid double parking. Even if you are running late, it’s better to circle the block to avoid blocking the flow of traffic and preventing the driver from leaving their space.

Let your kids take the bus

If the bus is an option for your student, let them take the bus. School buses are actually one of the safest commute options for students. Far safer than you taking them. You can avoid the morning traffic and help alleviate some of the traffic for other parents by allowing your child to take the bus. 

Park when you need to

If your child is refusing to get out of the vehicle, the drop-off line isn’t the best place to battle it out. Park, calm your child down and walk them to their destination. 

Patience is a virtue

Even if you do everything right, there is always a chance that another parent is having an off day. If that is the case, take a deep breath and patiently wait your turn. Frustration and raised blood pressure won’t get you where you need to be any faster. In fact, it will likely just set you up to have a bad day and hurt your overall health. 

The Carlson Law Firm — We care. We Can Help.

It’s easy to forget that everyone has a life and a list of things to do for the day. However, taking a deep breath and remembering that it’s important to consider the safety of the pedestrians and motorists around you is the best thing you can do to keep your children, other children and the staff at your children’s schools safe. When you are in the drop-off or pick-up line, your top priority should be safety. Other people have lives that they’re trying to get to just the same as you. Being polite and considerate of others will not only keep your children safe, but it will also ensure you make it to your destination unharmed. 

If you or a loved one were injured in a school drop-off or pick-up line accident, contact The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your legal options.

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