Spring break is around the corner, and for college students it is a time to celebrate finishing midterms and to get much-needed rest from studying.
Each year approximately 1.5 million college students travel to celebrate spring break, according to the Travel Market Report.
As the number of young people heading out on the road goes up, so does the risk for injuries and deaths.
The weekly death toll in traffic accidents at popular spring break destinations spike up to 9.1% higher during the spring break season, according to Science Daily.
Associate Director of the Office of Health Promotion Megan Richardson said there are ways for students to stay safe during spring break.
“One way to stay safe is to drink responsibly and know your limits,” Richardson said.
Someone is killed every 31 minutes in a drunk driving accident during normal times, but during spring break, those numbers increase by as much as 23%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If students decide to drink it is important to have a designated driver.
Richardson said that drinking responsibly also means students should never leave their drink unattended.
This is especially true for female students, who are more likely to be victims of sexual assault than male students. A 2007 study by the National Institute of Justice reported that 89% of undergraduate female sexual assault survivors said they were drinking before their assault.
“Another tip for students to stay safe is to practice safe sex,” Richardson said.
Couples need to set intimacy boundaries before leaving on spring break. Students who choose to have sex should take the necessary precautions by using condoms. Condoms can reduce the risk of getting STDs and unintended pregnancies.
Richardson said it is important while traveling to research local and state policies and to carry a limited amount of cash. For those planning to enjoy spring break on the beach, she suggests staying hydrated and using sunscreen that is at least SPF 30.
For more information on ways to stay safe during spring break, the Office of Health Promotion is hosting an afternoon of interactive activities on March 5, from 1-3 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Orange Ballroom.
The event will provide students with information and strategies about alcohol awareness and prepare them for a safe spring break week.