Why Drive? Why Walk?
Why do Parents Drive to School?
Unfortunately many children are now driven to and from school every day and the reasons vary. To find solutions we need to recognise or understand these reasons.
- Not all children go to their nearest school. For many this is through choice and for some due to lack of space at their local school.
- Lifestyles have changed; walking to school does not always fit in with our busy schedules. Nowadays often both parents need to work and the school-run easily establishes itself as part of the car journey to and from work. Parents may be too busy to see the irony of driving the kids to school so they can go straight on to the gym.
- Our strong car culture means that for some parents the concept of walking to school would not even occur to them. Cars are seen as prized possessions, status symbols and can feel like an extension of our home.
- Many of us have become used to a sedentary lifestyle and need strong motivation and a bit of physical effort to break the habit of driving and walk instead.
- Although obesity and inactivity is a far greater risk to child's well-being, for some parents the fear of abduction can make them worry about their children walking alone. Although abduction by strangers is extremely rare, if it happens it gets massive media exposure which makes parents fearful.
- Finally, one of the biggest barriers to walking to school are fears about traffic dangers. Increased traffic makes parents worry about their children walking alone, so they drive them and become part of the problem.
Why Walk to School?
Walking to school has many benefits for pupils, parents and the community as a whole. Promoting these benefits can help persuade more families to walk - different benefits will appeal to different people.
- Regular exercise makes children healthier and reduces risk of obesity which can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other health issues.
- By walking to school children gain road-sense and are able to learn about risk and therefore how to look after themselves and be safe.
- Walking to school helps children to feel more wide awake for the start of the school day and therefore more ready to learn.
- By reducing the number of cars travelling to school, the roads in the area become safer for everyone, especially around the school gates.
- Walking to school is sociable for children and helps them become more independent.
- Pollution is reduced if more children walk.
- Regular walking from a young age means children grow up with this good healthy habit for life.