Class is in session! Whether you have young children heading off to grade school, a teenager who will be driving themselves to school, a college student leaving the nest or you simply live in a neighborhood with school-aged children, back to school is a time for exciting new beginnings. Mornings during the school year can also be a time for chaos and congested streets. Trying to get in to drop your kids off and get out in a timely manner so that you can make it to work on time can seem like an impossible task. However, making sure everyone makes it to school safely is much more important.

Follow these 5 simple tips to help keep your cool and keep everyone safe:

  1. Leave the house 30 minutes early – When you’re in a hurry you’re stressed, and when you’re stressed you’re less alert. Leaving the house early gives you plenty of time to stop for children crossing crosswalks, stop behind busses loading and unloading passengers and to wait in the long vehicle line at drop off in front of the school. According to studies done by the National Safety Council, most children, ages 4 to 7, who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are either hit by a bus or by a motorist illegally passing a bus. So slow down, share the streets peacefully and leave the house with plenty of time to wait when necessary.
  2. Don’t have your kids load and unload from across the street – As temping as this may be for convenience reasons, it puts the children in a position to have to cross the street at a busy time of the day when lots of other parents are trying to hurry as well.
  3. Don’t double park – Again, it may seem like the perfect opportunity to get in and get out, but in reality double parking can make it hard or impossible for other vehicles or children to see oncoming traffic or pedestrians. Make sure their visibility (and yours) stays as clear as possible and simply wait your turn.
  4. Carpool – It may seem like the perfect bonding time with your kids in the morning, or you may feel guilty for asking the neighbor or a friend who drives past your house in the mornings to take the kids with them. But carpooling is actually doing everyone a service. Not only is it easier on the environment by using one vehicle instead of two, it also reduces the amount of traffic at the school. For a nice bonus, offering to take turns gives each of you a few mornings of ‘me’ time throughout the week.
  5. Inspect your vehicle – Before loading up and heading out, make sure your car is safe and functioning properly. When in doubt, bring it to a certified mechanic.

There’s always a lot of excitement and buzz around back to school season and sharing the road with an army of miniature pedestrians and new drivers can be stressful. So take it slow, put safety first, and conquer the school year!