Every parent or guardian knows full well what this time of year means: it’s back to school. Relaxed holiday routines are thrown out the window and now there is the added pressure of making sure the children get to school at the right time, often during peak-hour morning traffic or back home during busy afternoons.
If you don’t have responsibility for school-age kids, you might think the new school year has no impact on your life. But you would be wrong, especially if you are a driver.
The new school term also means the application of school zone regulations – speed limits that apply for certain hours of roads near schools. It’s vital that you are not caught out. Not only could you be putting the safety of a schoolchild at risk, but you could also incur a hefty fine. Research we have done in the past has shown that half of drivers have admitted to missing the lower speed limits because they forgot or were unaware they were in a school zone. It’s a mistake that can get very expensive very quickly and lead to loss of licence.
It’s not always easy for drivers who may have become used to the routine of driving the same roads at the regular speed limit for the previous six or so weeks, or who are new to the area. The school zones may have changed in the intervening period, both in location and in terms of speed restrictions, or may have only been recently designated. And let’s not forget there are different regulations in each State or Territory in Australia. It’s an added pressure on drivers who need to be at their most observant.
Not that it is easy for those doing the school drop-off and pick-up. Time pressures can be acute, children may need to be dropped at more than one destination, and the designated drop-off points are often highly congested. In these situations, where there are many vehicles and children in a concentrated area, maintaining safety is paramount.
Fortunately, these are issues that we give a lot of thought to at Navman, so that drivers can focus on what’s important: firstly, the safety of children, and secondly, completing a stress-free (and fine-free) journey. Navman invests in the right technology to ensure drivers are alerted to school zones whenever and wherever they are in the country.
Let’s also remember that there is a crucial element that drivers should factor into their preparation for the return of school. And that is time. Take the time to plan your route before school starts, particular if it’s a new school, allow extra time for journeys and make sure you are aware of school zone restrictions and drop-off zones. That goes for both drivers making drop-offs and those driving through school zones on their way to another destination. Staying observant and taking your time are essential to keeping children safe.