Destination: a safe Spring Break trip

Michael Lewis

Spring Break gives students a chance to cut loose from classes. Some students decide to pile into cars bound for overcrowded hotel rooms, while others board planes headed to popular party destinations.

The Kent State Police Department and the Center for Student Involvement offers some safety advice to consider when traveling.

– Students driving long distances should check the vehicle’s oil and tire pressure.

– Check lights and turn signals.

– Make sure the vehicle battery contains enough water and check the transmission fluid level.

– Make sure the car has a spare tire with a jack to change it.

– Ensure vehicle tags and driver’s licenses are not expired.

“If students have the time, get to a mechanic and ask for a vacation check,” said Alice Ickes, Kent State crime prevention officer.

“Be prepared for road way emergencies,” Ickes said.

She suggested carrying a flashlight, a signal flare or a warning triangle, a first-aid kit, work gloves, a blanket and a tire pressure gauge. Ickes also suggested purchasing an atlas to learn the travel routes, or picking up a map at tourist information centers along the way.

“Make copies of important personal information like driver’s license, insurance card, and credit cards to put in your luggage in case you lose your wallet,” Ickes said. “A lost or stolen wallet can be a real nightmare.”

Ickes recommended exchanging personal information with travel companions so they know who to contact in case of an injury or illness.

“Don’t leave people behind,” Ickes said. “There is safety in numbers. Usually, it’s the person who leaves the group that ends up in trouble.”

Anna Gosky, associate director at the Center for Student Involvement, said to make sure students do not disappear for a week without leaving behind contact information.

“It’s important students communicate where they’ll be and who they’ll be with so their parents can reach them in case of an emergency,” Gosky said.

Agree on the visitor’s policy before heading out for a night of drinking and clubbing, Ickes said.

“If somebody meets Mr. Right, how will the other friends feel if that person spends the night?” she said.

Ickes recommends:

– Looking through the peep hole before answering the door.

– Keeping doors locked.

– Deciding how much to drink before going to the bar.

– Using the buddy system when leaving the bar.

– Knowing the consequences of violating state and local laws.

Graduate business student Donnie Hansel said he survived three Spring Break trips, but the first served as his rite of passage.

“Be open to new things,” Hansel said. “Party hard and have fun, but be careful. Watch out for your friends, and wear a condom.”

Contact safety reporter Michael Lewis at < a href=”mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected].