Parents Warned This 15-Minute Window Is When Most Car Crashes Occur

If you drive your kids to and from school, read this first.
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Parents are being warned to be extra cautious on the afternoon school run – especially with thousands more children returning to school in the next week or so.

A new analysis by Aviva has revealed that Friday between 3pm and 3:15pm (aka the height of the PM school run) is the time when people are most likely to have a car crash.

Historical data shows that this 15-minute slot has held the top spot for car collisions since 2020, the insurer warned, and 2023 figures show no sign of that trend declining.

Aviva’s 2022 collision data shows that more than one in four of all collision claims were between 2-4pm, coinciding with peak afternoon school run traffic.

Perhaps surprisingly, traditional morning and evening rush hour commute times (between 7-9am and 5-7pm) were not featured in the top five most likely times to have an accident.

The most common times to have a road collision, according to Aviva.
The most common times to have a road collision, according to Aviva.

According to a separate Aviva survey, 16% of people who drop off their children at school or nursery have witnessed a car crash on the school run and 84% have encountered a motoring incident or poor parking.

Alec Reeder, interim chief underwriting officer at Aviva, suggested hybrid working patterns mean that more people now have the flexibility to collect their children from school, but working and factoring in a pick-up deadline “can leave many watching the clock and squeezing the time until school’s out”.

“We see this especially on a Friday afternoon, where people may be in an extra hurry to beat weekend getaway traffic,” he said.

Guidance for drivers on the school run

Slow down

The speed limit around schools is 20mph and for good reason – travelling at this speed makes you more aware and in control, lets you react quicker and helps avoid collisions.

Traffic calming measures like speed bumps may also be in place, so avoid potential damage to your car or van by navigating these at a sensible speed.

Be extra vigilant

Watch out for pedestrians, especially children crossing the road who might be distracted. Be aware of other drivers on the school run who may be in a hurry and driving without due care or attention.

Take the pressure off

According to Aviva research, a quarter of respondents said they chose to drive their kids to school as they were short on time. Safety experts recommend leaving a few minutes earlier, where possible, to compensate for traffic and unexpected delays – especially on Friday afternoons.

You could also consider finding a local carpool or sharing lifts with friends to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads.

Follow the yellow lines

Remember: double yellow lines mean no waiting at any time, while single yellows mean you must not wait or park during the times shown on nearby signs.

Know your parking geography

Don’t park too close to junctions, or cause annoyance to residents in the area by parking inconsiderately across driveways.

“Paying attention to where you park could also save you and others from accidents and frustrations,” said Reeder.

“Parking inconsiderately, or in the wrong place, could land you with a hefty fine and you could be at fault, even if another vehicle crashes into you, so it’s worth doing your homework on safe – and legal – places to park near to school.”

Safe travels!