Spring break is a unique opportunity for college students: it gives them time off when the rest of the world is at work, making it perfect for getting away from the last of the winter weather to party. However, the combination of long drives, heavy drinking, and partying in unfamiliar surroundings isn’t exactly good for your health: in a study by the University of Miami, researchers found that popular spring break destinations experience a 9.1% increase in traffic fatalities, and those deaths are predominantly drivers and passengers under the age of 25. Here are some ways you can make your spring break trip safer while still being fun.
Prepare Your Car for the Road Ahead
Before you hit the road, give your car a thorough inspection. Are all the fluids at the correct level, including the oil and coolant? Are all the tires at the correct pressure, including the spare? Are there any repairs that need to be made before you leave? The sooner you can address these problems, the easier it will be to ensure your car is ready for a long road trip.
Get Your Documents Straight
Before you set off, make sure everyone who is going to drive has a valid driver’s license with them, and make sure you have proof of insurance for your vehicle. Going down to Mexico? Most U.S. insurance coverage stops when you cross the border, so you’ll need to get some supplemental coverage.
Be Well Rested
Cramming for midterms can leave you exhausted, and that can make you drowsy behind the wheel. If sleep is in short supply, plan your trip so that you have some time to rest before you set off, or have someone with a less stressful schedule drive first.
Dress for the Journey
Sure, the weather’s going to be nice at your destination, but reaching any beach from Wisconsin means you’ll have at least a day of driving. Make sure you have coats, gloves, and anything else you may need to brave the last of the winter weather going to and from your destination.
Have a Plan Before You Go Out
Smartphones are useful, but they can’t be relied upon all the time: the battery could die, they could be lost, or the huge number of spring breakers in the area could overload the cell towers. Have a designated meeting place and time set up before you go bar hopping so everyone can safely get back to the hotel room.
Don’t Drink and Drive
The cops are going to be on the lookout for drunk drivers during spring break, and for good reason: drunk drivers account for about a third of all lethal traffic accidents. Add in drivers under intoxication, and the total rises to almost 50%.
Try to get a place to stay that’s close to where you’ll want to be during your vacation so you’ll be less inclined to drive. Where possible, use taxis and public transportation to get around, and make sure you have the hotel’s business card on hand so you can tell the driver where you need to be taken after a night of drinking. Using a service like Uber or Lyft? Make sure the driver information on the app matches the vehicle you’re getting a ride from.
Always have a designated driver. You may decide that you’ll be in an area until you’re sober, but after a few drinks, your hampered judgment may lead you to getting behind the wheel.
This spring break, a little common sense and planning can go a long way toward keeping you safe so you can enjoy your time off. At Merton Auto Body, we may make a living fixing damaged cars, but that doesn’t mean we want you to be in an accident!