Parents’ top driving gripes outside their child’s school – parking outside gates

The most annoying behaviours from parent drivers at school pick-up or drop-off times include blocking pathways or driveways, and leaving the engine on while waiting for children.

A poll of 2,000 motorists, with children aged five to 16, found their top gripe outside the school gates is parents or children crossing the road without looking.

And others get annoyed with cars parking on double-yellow lines or in the cycle line – with six in ten getting into arguments with other parents over driving misdemeanours near schools.

But over a fifth (21%) admit they have been guilty of speeding near their child's school – with a quarter not even knowing what the speed limit is in the area.

Nearly a quarter (23%) have blocked pathways, and 22% have obstructed driveways in an effort to get closer to the school gate.

And almost a third (30%) of parent motorists admitted to parking outside the school gates.

Bryn Brooker, head of road safety at dash cam leaders Nextbase, which commissioned the research and quiz, said: “School drop-off and pick up should be a happy time for families – but instead it’s a time of worry, stress, and ultimately risk.

“With so many not knowing the rules of the road around their schools, it’s resulting in 80% of parents reporting arguments every school term.”

Mary Williams OBE, chief executive officer of road safety charity Brake, said: “The school run carries risks for children for so many reasons, including peak traffic times, drivers feeling rushed when they should be focussed on safety, unsafe parking, and traffic pollution.

“It can be even more risky in the darker winter months. This survey highlights many dangerous behaviours around the school run, from speeding to engine idling, risking children’s lives and lungs.

“It is vital to have effective road safety measures in our communities to protect children and families, and enable us to travel in healthy ways that benefit us all by walking and cycling.

“We need more segregated cycle paths, traffic free zones, and low speed limits across communities to end the carnage on roads.”

Just under one in three respondents (29%) will leave their engines running, emitting fumes while waiting for kids to emerge from school.

And a further 34% would appreciate dash cams being used to settle disputes, according to the OnePoll figures.

In fact, a fifth (21%) have already used dash cam footage to clear up a disagreement about which motorist was in the wrong.

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The top reason parents will have broken the rules of the Highway Code outside their children’s school was found to be simply wanting to get there quicker (54%).

However, 53% worry they won’t be able to find a place to park, and almost half (48%) admit they don’t always pay enough attention.

Despite accepting they sometimes commit their own driving offences, 55% wish more was done to enforce road safety outside their children’s schools.

Just over a third (37%) would like to see larger fines for careless driving, and 33% want teachers to do more to dissuade poor motoring habits.

Three in ten have seen parents being fined – or at least told off – for driving habits around their children’s school.

And a whopping two in five (39%) have personally witnessed a crash, or dangerous parking or driving in this busy area.

Bryn Brooker added: “For those who are the innocent party in a collision, a dash cam can be a real blessing, as the footage makes police and insurers’ lives so much easier.

“Having evidence to prove that you were not at fault has shown to be the most useful tool. It is also helping to make the roads safer, by helping others understand how to drive in high risk areas.”


  1. Parents/children crossing the road without looking
  2. People leaving their engines running while waiting for children
  3. Parents/children walking in the road
  4. Blocking pathways
  5. Parking on double yellow lines
  6. Blocking driveways
  7. Speeding
  8. Parking in the middle of the road
  9. Parking on zig-zag lines outside school
  10. Parents/children walking in the cycle lane
  11. Driving down restricted zones
  12. Parking outside the school gates
  13. Parking in the cycle lane

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