On the first day of school, if not earlier at an orientation, pay attention to any and all of the rules about the parking lot. There should also be signs around the lot explaining which lanes are for dropping off, picking up, parking, or for buses. If you are uncertain about where to park or which lanes are for which specific activity, be sure to ask. At the beginning and end of each normal school day there should be teachers or parking lot attendants outside monitoring activity in the parking lot. Pay attention to the directions they are giving and ask them questions if you are not sure where to go. It is important for everyone to follow the same guidelines so that each driver and child knows what to expect. Drivers who park and leave their cars unattended in a drive-thru lane not only pose a safety hazard, they are also being an annoyance. Don’t be that person. If you need to park and leave your car, please park in an appropriate spot.
So, you know you are following the rules; but what about the kids? Your kids will be told by the school how to behave, of course, but you should absolutely reinforce this. If you are driving your children to and from school, make sure you discuss the procedure ahead of time. If you’ll be meeting them in a specific location or if it could vary from day to day your children will need to know what to expect from you.
Teach your children how to use crosswalks properly and advise them that walking, running, or horse playing in the parking lot is unacceptable.
Young children should hold hands and be escorted directly to the vehicle. Older children should be reminded to look both ways before walking into a parking lot and to wait until traffic areas are clear and safe before walking through them. If the parking lot is extremely clogged, you may want to consider parking offsite but nearby, and allowing your older children to walk to the car using a safe route and available crosswalks.
When you are driving through the parking lot, please consider the children and other drivers. Instead of being angry and frustrated, choose to be patient and generous. If someone needs to pull out in front of you, leave some space. Instead of speeding up so you don’t lose your place, give your place to the other parent who is also trying to find a safe way out of the mayhem. Avoid, if you can, making immediate after school plans that might cause you to feel like rushing. There’s never a reason to drive over 5 miles per hour in the school parking lot. Also be sure to obey the speed limits posted on the street in the school zones. When you make eye contact with another driver, offering a small, but friendly smile will usually yield positive results.