By Jordan W. Charness
The back-to-school season brings with it plenty of stress for the driver lucky enough to be in charge of the early-morning carpool. In the first few days of school, figuring out where to go and how to drive the carpool route will be a challenge. And even if the driver knows the neighbourhood very well, there will likely be other parents wandering down streets looking for addresses during those first days of school. These drivers will not be paying 100 per cent attention to the road as they hunt for elusive addresses on a street they thought they new oh so well.
Another problem that crops up every year around this time is the fact that most children really would rather still have summer vacation than return to school. They become used to a summer schedule that allows them to go to bed when they want to (more or less) and get up when they want to (more or less). Getting up in the morning of the school day is never fun and is even less so during the first days of the school year.
Once your little angels have finally dragged themselves out of bed they will do everything they can to drag out and stall the inevitable. This usually means that the carpool driver has left late due to his or her own dilatory child and arrives late at the first and second stops where the children who are to be picked up are also doing their best to stay home and miss the first few days of school.
Once all the children are finally collected the carpool driver will most likely realize they are now seriously late for class. The natural tendency of any driver who is late is to speed, thereby increasing the danger to the driver and passengers. Inevitably, the final destination in this trip is driving through a school zone that has its own reduced speed limit and additional law enforcement agents just looking for people with the temerity to speed through a school zone!
“I was trying to get the kids to school on time” is not going to be a valid excuse or defence to your speeding ticket. Being pulled over by the cops will, however, give all the children in your carpool something to talk about to all their friends during the first few days of class. It will likely be the most exciting thing that will happen to them all week, but it certainly won’t do your reputation or standing in the community any good.
Even if you do manage to deliver all the children to school on time, don’t forget that now that school is back in session there is a lot more traffic on the roads. This means it’s going to take you longer to get to work or wherever else your destination is that day. The police are also out in force looking for those who are breaking the law and endangering themselves and other users of the road.
Leaving early and even getting to school early is probably the best thing to do even though it may sound easier than it actually is.
Getting children ready for school can be exasperating but please take the time to make sure that they safely make it all the way to the school yard, and you to your destination, wherever that may be.