‘Wacky Races meets Robot Wars’: 97% of parents have seen bad driving on the school run

school run

A fifth think banning non-residents’ cars from immediate streets would make it less stressful

A new survey by Mumsnet has revealed that 97% of parents say they have witnessed some kind of bad driving by other parents on the school run, including parking on double yellow lines (84%), blocking driveways (79%) and pulling into traffic dangerously (76%). A quarter (25%) say they have seen people cause an accident, 9% admit they have broken the speed limit themselves, and 4% say they have parked on double yellow lines.

Examples cited by survey respondents included:

'Two mums yelling at each other from their cars because neither would give way, leading to a 20-minute blockade’

'Parking on double yellow lines and mounting the kerb at the same time, blocking the footpath right outside the school. Same mother does this every day.’

Asked why some people drive so badly on the school run, respondents cited a lack of parking (58%), mornings being busy and stressful (46%) and people making unnecessary journeys. Half (54%) do one school journey a week by car. Of those parents who drive their children to school, 25% say they have to make other car journeys in the morning – for example to work – so it makes sense to go via the school. 20% live a long distance from their child’s school, and 10% say they have no viable public transport alternative.

Over half (59%) say their biggest worry about school run driving is the accident risk. Other concerns include higher levels of pollution (14%) and congestion making parents late for onward journeys (11%).

When asked what would make school runs less stressful, suggestions included:

  • Having traffic wardens issuing tickets regularly (36%)
  • Having a drop-off bay where staff collect pupils from their parents’ cars (28%)
  • Having staggered drop-off times for different age groups (27%)
  • Naming and shaming the worst offenders (24%)
  • Parents being able to work flexibly or from home (22%)
  • Banning non-residents’ cars (apart from Blue Badge holders) from the immediate streets surrounding schools (17%).

Almost three quarters (73%) said they understand why school runs must be annoying for people who live nearby. One user said, ‘'When we lived opposite a school I couldn’t leave or enter my house for approximately 40 minutes each day. I was verbally abused by so many people parked across my driveway. It was hideous."

Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts said, “One Mumsnet user told us she starts with an assumption that the school run is going to be a cross between Wacky Races and Robot Wars, and if it’s better than that she’s pleasantly surprised. There’s no doubt it’s a stressful time of day, but it would be great to see schools, residents and parents work together on creative solutions to make it safer for everyone.”

Read the full data here

November 2019