Be safe during your Spring Break

Starting tomorrow, campus will be nearly empty as students take a week off for spring break. At the risk of sounding like parents, we want to point out that these days off aren’t why many people are concerned for college students, but the dangers that present themselves during this time that do. Car accidents, substance abuse and travel complications are just some of the issues that are predictably present in spring break experiences year after year.

Because driving is a popular traveling method during the break, we should be aware of the additional hazards presented by this time of year. The Texas Department of Transportation calls spring break a “particularly dangerous and deadly time” on state roads as DUI-alcohol crashes involving young drivers tend to spike. To put it in numbers, the department reported 459 crashes involving young adults under the influence during the 2015 spring break period. This figure is not an exception, but a well-known trend in driver behavior. Traffic fatalities see a general increase as well because car accidents can happen to anyone regardless of whether or not they are under the influence.

The best way to decrease the likelihood of getting in a car accident is to be vigilant. While drinking and driving is never OK, driver exhaustion puts lives at risk as well. Sleep deprivation is a common factor among drivers who underestimate how tired they are or want to avoid hotel costs, but this can be a big mistake to make when it comes to passenger safety.

Travel complications can also make our break memorable for all the wrong reasons. Every year, thousands of American students flood Mexico’s hotels and beaches in search of a good time. And while a vacation should be enjoyed, students should be aware of the differences between the U.S. and the country they are visiting. Mexico, for example, has been put under a travel warning by the U.S. Department of State because of activities carried out by several criminal organizations in the area. Nevertheless, Mexico is frequently a place where young Americans assume U.S. laws follow.Each country has its own set of customs and rules, and the best way to avoid trouble is to grow familiar with them before traveling.

Domestic travelers should still take certain necessary precautions when going to unfamiliar places. Like those traveling abroad, one should make it a point to research, plan and never wander alone to unknown areas.

While much of this advice may sound redundant, if not repetitive, it is good to remember during the time we take to temporarily unwind from school. Every year, there is at least one report of a college student whose life was cut short during the break, and we ask that everyone take the necessary steps to ensure it isn’t them.

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