UAE road safety experts share tips for school run ahead of academic year

The founder of Road Safety UAE said parents needed to stagger pickup times to avoid peak-time congestion

Students arrive to the Al Sanawbar School on the first day of the third term along Khalid bin Sultan street in Al Ain on April 8, 2012. Al Ain schools are testing a staggered start time as a way to reduce morning traffic and keeps kids safe. Christopher Pike / The National
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Road safety experts have issued a series of tips ahead of schools reopening next week to avoid chaotic early morning traffic.

Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of Road Safety UAE, said a combination of increased vehicles, more pedestrians and school buses creates heavy congestion in areas surrounding schools.

He said the largest contributor to the congestion was parents picking-up and dropping-off pupils at a specific time — which was often too close to when school begins. He suggested slightly staggering pickup times to avoid crowding around schools.

“Parents and students should display proper time management by arriving at the school well before it starts and by collecting kids a little while after the end of school, to avoid peak-time congestion,” said Mr Edelman.

He said motorists needed to be made aware of driving etiquette surrounding school buses.

"Despite the fact that school buses are equipped with stop-signs and warning lights which get deployed when school buses stop to allow students to embark or disembark, many motorists ignore those, resulting in dangerous situations." 

Road Safety UAE issued four sets of tips for motorists ahead of the new academic year:

Driving around schools:
Drive slowly and extra carefully around schools, kindergartens and universities.
Be prepared for heavy traffic during drop-off and pickup times
Watch out for extra traffic guidance and follow the directions of school staff, traffic guides or police.

Collecting or dropping-off children from school:
Park your vehicle safely and in designated areas.

Do not double park.
Account for time spent caught in traffic near schools to pick pupils up on time.

Guide children safely to and from the school and your car.
Be a good role model and educate your children about proper road safety conduct.
Engage with the school administration to suggest road safety improvements around the school.

Driving near school buses:

Drive slowly when near a school bus.
Obey the yellow warning sign and flashing red lights which engage on school buses when they stop allowing students to get on or off.
You must stop to allow safe passage for pupils.
Look out for pupils crossing in front or behind the bus.

Pickup and drop-off at school bus stops:
Cross roads safely, never run to or from the bus.
Do not stand in the danger zone. If a child can touch the bus, he or she is too close.
Take your seat promptly, buckle up and sit properly, facing forward at all times.
Keep the aisle of the bus clear at all times.

Always keep your head, hands and arms inside the bus.

Remain in the seat until the bus comes to a complete stop.