MSU students are gearing up for spring break, a time when lots of college-age students travel, party, and generally participate in fun activities. While it’s great to free your mind from your studies and “chill out” for a while, it’s also important to stay safe no matter what you have planned. Few men and women give much thought to the fact that spring break is a prime time for alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, and other crimes or injuries resulting from those activities.
One of the major factors in safety during spring break is drinking alcohol, and how much you drink. Binge drinking not only often results in alcohol poisoning or even death, it can be a factor in sexual assault, as many lose their inhibitions and common sense when under the influence. Whether you plan to drink alcohol or not, traveling is another concern.
No matter what your plans are, put safety first and foremost. We have a few tips to ensure you have a great time and avoid becoming a statistic.
If you’re going to drink, do so safely. Be sure you have a few friends you know well with you, and take turns being on “watch.” One night one friend can remain sober and focus on everyone’s safety, the next night it can be another friend’s turn. Also keep a vigilant eye on your drink and your surroundings; the last thing you want is for someone to slip a “date rape” drug into your drink.
Always have a buddy with you when going to a party. Spring break parties are often attended by many people you’ve never met before – this is especially true given the popularity of social media, and announcements about the party that are visible to everyone. Don’t leave with a stranger, and don’t leave the party alone.
Heading to the beach? Miami, Daytona Beach, and Panama City Beach are all popular spring break destinations. Las Vegas and the Bahamas are other hot spots. If you’re going to be soaking up the sun, be sure to slather on the sunscreen and drink lots of water. You don’t want a severe sunburn, and guzzling the water is important for hydration – particularly if you plan on drinking later in the day.
When you’re staying in an unfamiliar destination, it’s important to be vigilant in regards to safety. Whether you’re staying at a condo, hotel, or beach house, always be sure to lock the doors behind you upon entering. If the rental has a safe, be sure to secure your wallet, passport, or other valuables.
Ready to hit the road? No doubt you’re excited about getting to your destination, but driving all through the night isn’t a good idea. Breakdowns on the side of the road, accidents – there are all kinds of situations you can find yourself in if you drive through the night. If you think you just have to travel during the night, be sure a friend or two are riding with you so you can take turns driving and have someone to keep you alert. Again, it’s always best to do everything with a buddy – including traveling.
Don’t drink and drive. This one’s simple, just don’t do it.
While either gender can be the victim of sexual assault, attacks are most often on women. You may choose to engage in sexual relations with someone; if you do, take precautions to ensure you avoid STDs and possible pregnancy. If you don’t intend to engage in sex and want to avoid the possibility of a sexual assault, stay away from situations that put you at risk and people you feel uncomfortable with. It’s also a good idea to carry your cell phone so you can dial 911 or call for help. If you’re at a function where a bartender or security guard is present, don’t hesitate to enlist their help.
If you’re an MSU student who’s on spring break this week, keep safety top of mind no matter what fun activities you have planned. Don’t over-indulge in alcohol, travel with friends, and be on guard at all times. Enjoy your week of freedom!