The sun is beginning to shine later and later in the evening, baseball and golf are back on television, and the temperature is warming up, that can only mean one thing; spring is finally starting to arrive. We know with spring, comes traveling, beaches, and spring break.
Since we are the Noble Men of Sigma Tau Gamma, we are going to take a proactive approach to spring break this year. Over the next week, we sent out daily #SpringBreakSafety tips on how to have a fun and safe spring break the past four days. Each day highlighted new tips, with a particular theme in mind. One day was on best practices when at hotels or resorts, but another day was focused on drinking responsibly. For easier access, we have decided to post all of our top tips throughout the week.
Day One – Travel
- If traveling in a vehicle, rotate drivers every two or three hours. New drivers can keep everyone in the car alert and rested, plus I am sure you will not want to listen to the same music the entire trip (because the driver always has control over the radio).
- Make sure that everyone traveling has a valid driver’s license, and the vehicle’s updated registration and current proof of insurance are in the car before getting on the road. If you are traveling abroad, ensure your passport is current and know ahead of time if your license and insurance will be valid in that country.
- Never leave valuables in your car in an eyes view, even if you are stepping away for just a minute. Lock all valuable and personal items in your trunk before reaching your destination.
- Before leaving your hotel, jot down the name of the hotel, phone number, and address, just in case you need help getting back. Also, it won’t hurt to save this info in your phone and text it to a friend, so you are not the only one who has it.
- Stay alert during taxi, Uber, Lyft, or any ride services. Use Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze or any other navigation service to follow along, making sure the driver is taking you in the right direction.
- If you suspect the driver is intoxicated, do not get in the car with them. There is always a safer alternative.
Day Two – Hotel, Resort, and ATM
- Reserve a room above the first-floor of a building, but below the sixth floor. First floor rooms are easier to break into, and rooms above the sixth floor, fire ladders on fire engines sometimes cannot reach them.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Make a mental note of the nearest fire exits, extinguishers, and where the closest stairwell is, just in case of an evacuation.
- Almost all hotels or resorts offer an in-room safe. This is a perfect place to store any cash or credit cards, passports, or jewelry that you don’t want to have on hand at all times.
- Do not put ski gear, dive gear, or any other valuable equipment on your balcony if your room has one and always lock your balcony door.
- Try to go the ATM in groups, but still be alert of who and what is surrounding the ATM.
- When entering in your PIN number, use your other hand or your body to cover the keypad. Just because you feel no one is watching, does not mean there is not a camera somewhere capturing your personal information.
Day Three – Drinking Responsibility
- If you choose to drink, pace yourself. If you do not drink or have very limited experience, going to a party hours away from home isn’t the best place to start testing your limits. Remember, while you can feel the effects of alcohol in as little as 10 minutes; sometimes it can take longer.
- Eat before drinking. Drinking on an empty stomach can cause alcohol to affect you much quicker and can make you sick. Those small party snacks or bar peanuts are not very filling.
- Don’t match friends drink for drink. The way alcohol affects your body will be different for everyone. This is based on how often you drink, what kind of alcohol, your weight, and how much you have eaten before drinking.
- Avoid binge drinking. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as, “A pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after four drinks for women and five drinks for men—in about 2 hours.”
- Be aware that some types of alcohol have stronger and faster effects than others. One beer is not going to have the same impact as an old fashioned or long island iced tea. A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, but only five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
- Drinking and driving is always dangerous and illegal, so avoid this by having a safe mode of transportation home planned before you go out. Having a designated driver before the night starts can be great for driving is smart and allows everyone to have fun without worrying how they will get home.
Day Four – Water, Sun, and Beach
- Drinking, plus the sun, can equal being sunburnt and having a nasty headache. Sun maximizes the effects of alcohol so be aware when you party poolside or at the beach.
- Use waterproof sunscreen SPF 30 or more and reapply as needed. Pay particular attention to ears, nose, face, feet, and shoulders. You don’t want to be the one with a peeling, red face in all those spring break pictures.
- Going for a quick swim in the ocean without a lifeguard is putting yourself at risk. Always swim with a friend or brother in our case. Even the most experienced swimmer can get caught in an undertow. If you find yourself caught in a rip current, don’t swim against it. Instead, swim parallel to shore until the rip passes.
- Know the flag system for water safety
- Red Flag: Stay out of the water because of strong an undertow, riptides, or sharks
- Yellow Flag: Use CAUTION in the water. There are some undertow and riptides possible.
- Blue Flag: Calm water. Swim safely.
- Drinking in the hot tub might sound like a good idea, but you might want to reconsider that decision. Alcohol can open blood vessels and lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. The effects of alcohol are felt sooner and will be stronger in a hot tub. It can lead to unconsciousness and drowning.
- Be aware that you can’t always tell how deep the water is, no matter what body of water. Don’t dive if you don’t know for sure how deep the water is. Diving in too shallow of waters can lead to serious accidents or death.