With as much pressure college students face today, it's no wonder they look forward to Spring Break. In my day, we would get onto our dinosaurs and go out to nightclubs to dance, flirt with guys and blow off steam. Alcohol was usually involved, but a lot of bars would water down the drinks so people would have to buy more if they wanted to get drunk. It's not hard to tell. Judging by some of the weirdos we'd meet, it worked. Drunk or not, it's very important to know how to conduct yourself in a manner that allows you and your friends to have fun without having to worry about anything bad happening. In the hopes of sparing you any unnecessary trouble, here are some of the most important safety rules not to ditch during Spring Break.
1. When You Go out, Go out in Groups and Keep Track of Each Other at All Times
One of the most important safety rules not to ditch during Spring Break is to stick together and keep track of each other at all times. It also helps to have one of you remain sober (or sober-ish) to watch over the others. That way, they can intervene if one of you starts to do something stupid like going off with some random guy. Keep your phones on you so you can text each other if you feel threatened.
2. Know What to do if Your Car Has Problems
This might sound weird, but having car problems can make you a “sitting duck” for would-be thieves or attackers. Think about it - you're stuck in whatever place your car breaks down in for what could be hours without any way to get away if something happens. I like to think that most “good Samaritans” who stop to help you are decent, but you can't always rely on that. Also, knowing how to change a tire or do a few basic repairs is helpful.
3. Don't Go off with People You Don't Know
Don't let your friend go off with someone she doesn't know. This applies even if she or the person she's with hasn't been drinking, but it's especially important if they have. It's one thing to be out on the balcony talking while everyone else is inside, but I wouldn't recommend getting into a car or going off some place where you couldn't yell for help if you needed to.
4. Use Common Sense
Follow the directions your mom probably gave you about going to the playground by yourself. Stay in well-lit and easily accessible places, don't bring people you don't know home, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Also, trust your instincts - if you have a bad feeling about someone, there's usually a reason.
5. Consider “staying in”
If there is going to be drinking (who am I kidding; there usually is), it might be good to confine the bulk of it to your room or condo so you won't have anyone on the road and can easily keep tabs on each other. It's a lot cheaper that way too.
6. Let Someone Know Where You Are
Let your parents and/or some other adult you trust (who isn't going with you) where you are. Check in with them often and at agreed-upon times. I know you might not want your parents keeping track of you, but it's important that they know where you are in case something happens and you need their help. We've probably all heard stories of young women who went missing on Spring Break, so don't let this happen to you.
7. Know Your Limits
Never get so drunk you're not in control of what you're doing or saying. I'm not just saying this in terms of warding off would-be rapists; we once got kicked out of a club because one of the guys who was with us had way too much and the management was afraid he had alcohol poisoning. Emergency rooms aren't fun places to be, trust me.
8. Don't Leave Your Drink Unattended
If you must put your drink down (going to the bathroom, for instance), have a good friend watch it. Some bars are starting to head this off at the pass by serving drinks in glasses with screw-on lids. Also, don't accept a drink you didn't see poured or opened. and last, but certainly not least-
9. Use a Designated Driver!
I really can't stress this one enough. Aside from the fact that a DUI/DWI could net you a hefty fine, loss of license and even jail time in some states, wrecks involving drunk drivers can be particularly awful. One of my good friends from high school was nearly killed in such a wreck, while the other driver walked away fine. Guess which one had been drinking? Hint: it wasn't my friend. Don't let this happen to you.
I hope I've given you something to think about when you make plans for Spring Break this year. Most of these things are pretty obvious, but it's always good to know what to do if something goes wrong. I know we shouldn't have to guard against would-be rapists because boys should be taught not to rape but, unfortunately, we're not quite there yet. Do you have any safety tips for Spring Break, or partying in general? What have been your experiences? Discuss!