School pick up: the most dangerous time on the road


According to the AAMI Crash Index, parents should drive with caution. We took a deep dive into 340,000 insurance claims and found that the most risky time on the road is the early afternoon!

That’s right, the most common time for crashes isn’t peak hour, or Friday night when the party animals have hit the road. It’s between 1pm and 4:30pm, when parents are picking up their kids from school. A whopping 27% of the claims analysed were for accidents that occured in this time period.

Your chances of having an accident on Australian roads increase towards the end of the week, with Friday taking the crash crown in every state but the Northern Territory, with 16.5% of claims coming from that one day. Friday may be a time to relax after a long work week, but you still need to keep your focus behind the wheel!

Vehicle Accident Claims: Time of Day

Vehicle Accident Claims: Day of Week

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How to do school runs the safe way

If you’re a parent, it’s not all bad news. There are a few safe driving behaviours to help you cruise safely though the school term.

Stick to school zone speed limits

School pick-up time can feel like a mad dash, but taking care around schools starts with sticking to the speed limit. While the most common school zone limit is 40km/h, it can vary, so pay close attention to road signs. School zone hours can vary too, especially in regional areas.

Put your local school term dates in your calendar so you won’t be caught out when lower limits resume after holidays. Even if a particular school is closed, limits will apply when the school term officially starts in your state.

Exceeding school zone limits isn’t only dangerous — it can really burn through your bank account. On some roads, school zone limits can be as much as 30km/h lower than during non-school times, so not slowing down can really cost you. Depending on where you are, you can be fined thousands of dollars, and even have your licence suspended for months. If that isn’t the adult version of detention, we don’t know what is.

Practise safe pick up procedure

The kerbside chaos of school pick ups can send safety precautions out the window, so parents might want to brush up.

  • Drop off and pick up kids from the designated drop off and pick up areas assigned by schools, so they don’t have to maneuver through traffic. Leave the dodging and weaving to PE class.  
  • Keep an eye out for yellow ‘no stopping’ lines. You can’t drop off or pick up your little ones (or anyone else for that matter) here at any time.
  • You must stop at the kerb when collecting the kids. Never pull up beside another car to let someone in or out, even if the kids are running late. It’s both dangerous and illegal. 

Park properly and politely

The AAMI Crash Index indicates that collisions with parked cars make up 8% of all accidents. Don’t add to the stats this school season! Never double park, even if you’re just making a quick run to reunite a child with their forgotten lunch.

The maximum amount of time you can stop at a ‘no parking’ sign is two minutes. And get this — if you stop at one of these signs without picking up or dropping off people or items, you may be fined. Sorry parents, you’ll have to resist the urge to catch up on that school gate goss from the driver’s seat.

Keep your eyes on the road

Between chauffeuring noisy kids, your hectic work schedule and a jam-packed to-do list, we know you’re juggling a lot (who isn’t these days?). But stay alert around school zones. Remember, kids can be unpredictable.

Whatever you do, don’t pull out your mobile in the pick-up queue for a sneaky phone call. According to the AAMI Crash Index, nose-to-tail collisions are the most common type of accident, accounting for 31% of all claims. So, parents: eyes on the road!

With uniforms, textbooks and stationery to organise, the checklist for a new school year might seem endless. But consider adding AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance to your list — peace of mind may be the best thing you buy for your family all year.

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The AAMI Crash Index is based on motor accident insurance claims in FY2018 and FY2019 made by customers of all AAI Limited’s brands including AAMI, GIO, Suncorp Insurance, Shannons, APIA, Bingle, CIL Insurance, Vero, and Essentials by AAI. 2019 claims data calculated from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019, and 2018 claims data calculated from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available. AAMI Roadside Assist is an Optional Cover only available in conjunction with AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance. Terms and conditions for coverage apply. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.