Rants from School Pick Up and Drop Off Car Line

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You guys, this thought legit went through my head this morning. In fact, it’s probably more accurate if a few choice curse words are thrown in, but I’m keeping it clean & classy for the blog. With school back in session in South Jersey (can I get a “what what?!”), I am face-to-face with one of my arch enemies: the car line. Don’t get me wrong, I transport my children back and forth to school by choice, so it’s my own fault that I get to experience this beast car line, but still. I get that there are always new families joining school communities, so there will always be a period of time to acclimate to new procedures and such, but…seriously…for the most part, I feel like most of the chaos I see happening in the car line could be fixed by simply using common sense. Which, apparently isn’t so common anymore, but that’s another story/vent for another time, amiright?

Anyways, I’m taking this matter into my own hands and, for the greater good of families in South Jersey, we’re going to chat a bit about car line etiquette. Feel free to chime in with some of your own car line experiences at the end, too. If anything, it’ll make us both feel better to know we’re not alone in this experience.

Just drop them off

Sounds so simple, but it apparently isn’t. If you are dropping your kids off at school, drive on up in that car line, open the doors, and let those kiddos out so they can join their friends on the playground. YOU put the car in “park,” stay in the front seat, let them peak their heads up front so you can give them a kiss and let them be on their merry way. What if they need help getting their backpacks on? What if they can’t unbuckle themselves from their seats? What if they have a class project they need you to get out of the trunk? If there is anything that requires you to get out of the car to assist the kids, find a parking space, park the car, and help them. THE CAR LINE IS NOT YOUR PERSONAL PARKING LOT.


You know what happens if you get out of your seat to help the kids while IN the car line? You cause chaos. The line slows down. The person behind you ends up getting stuck behind you because they probably didn’t leave much room between the two cars (the extra space isn’t needed! Car line is supposed to move along pretty consistently) and because it would be dangerous to put their car in reverse to drive around you. Before you know it, cars are backed up waiting for you to walk back to the car, get situated in your seat, and MOVE.

Don’t be that person. Keep it moving or find a parking space.

Get off the phone

You drop the kids off (or pick them up!) and are ready to drive off to whatever you have planned, and *suddenly* you hear the ping/beep/Justin Bieber ringtone going off to let you know you got a text. Do you ignore the sound and continue driving or do you stop the car right where it is so that you can attend to your phone? I swear to you, I have see this happen and it boggles my mind. Not just in car lines, but in the middle of intersections, the middle of neighborhood roads, at green lights. It brings the Jersey out in me and I literally start to channel Ludacris and sing “MOVE!!(remember…keeping it clean and classy for the blog) Get out da way!!

YOU GUYS! This is so dangerous! I admit that I spend a bit too much time on my phone, but, when you’re supposed to be operating a vehicle…get off the phone and pay attention!


Take your Conversation to a Coffee Shop

Or a bookstore. Or your kitchen table. Heck, pull the car around the corner and park in the neighborhood around the corner. You know how many times I have seen traffic get backed up because the person driving the car at pickup or dropoff decides to stay IN the parking lot to chat with a friend that has walked up to the car?! A LOT and it (obviously) drives me bonkers. Don’t interrupt the flow, yo.

Listen, I totally get how wonderful it can be to have some adult conversation and be able to talk about topics other than Power Rangers, dinosaurs, and ninja skills. I GET IT. But, the car line is not the place for those conversations. People have places to go, people to see and it is not fair at all to make them wait in a car line because you have a conversation going on.


Don’t Block the Parking Spots

This mainly bugs me at school pickup. I’m a weirdo, I get it – I arrive at my kids school pretty early so that I can make sure to get a decent parking space to park in. The boys aren’t the fastest with buckling their seat belts, so I don’t want to be that mom who either holds up the line waiting for kids to buckle or drives off while the kids are unbuckled. Which, let me just say, this is not safe at all – seat belts are there for a reason, make the kids use them! (Consider reading my Car Seat Safety Resources for South Jersey article). I use my “extra” time sitting in the car to take care of business emails or to putz around on Facebook. It’s all good and is a routine that I fairly enjoy. Anyways, in our area, cars start lining up for the car line about a half hour before dismissal. I feel like that’s a pretty typical time? Absolutely nothing wrong with this, but I feel like, if you’re going to make the effort to line up early, you might as well just park in any parking spots that may be empty. It seems like a better use of space and allows for more cars to enter the car line rather than be sitting ducks waiting in traffic in front of the school (our elementary school has a pretty tiny parking area, so the line will get backed up into the street – it’s crazy!).

If you’re not going to park in those spaces, at least give yourself the ability to move the car if someone else wants to park in the spot you’re blocking.


Whew! Ok. I think that’s enough for today. I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll remember something more to say about car line, but this should get my point across pretty well! Before we end, though, let me just say – we are all just doing our best to be the best parent we can be. We all make mistakes and are all learning how to survive raising kids.

I’d love to hear about your experiences dropping off and picking up in the school car line, too – share a story or two in the comments so I know I’m not alone in this!




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