Steps to a problem-free spring break

There are just some things students would rather not experience during spring break.

Getting caught up in a foreign country’s judicial system; worshipping the porcelain god before, during and after a hangover; and waking up next to a stranger might compete for the top spot on that list.

But as easy as it is to get into those situations, it is just as easy to stay out of them. Having a safe, fun spring break is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Know your limits

The university’s Alcohol and Drug Education Center and the Texas Department of Public Safety have advice on how to avoid potentially dangerous situations from putting a damper on students’ holiday plans.

Rachel Leshner, program specialist for the university’s Alcohol and Drug Education Center, said students should remember to drink responsibly on their vacations.

“We understand that spring break allows for longer periods of time to be out playing,” Leshner said. “We certainly recommend just keeping an eye on (alcohol intake and) staying hydrated, especially if you’re going to be in the sun or in high altitudes.”

She said one of the worst case scenarios with drinking is alcohol poisoning because it can be a life or death situation. A person with alcohol poisoning could exhibit symptoms such as shallow breathing, a pale appearance and clamminess. The person may also be unresponsive, cold to the touch or turn blue.

A good rule of thumb would be to have one drink per hour in order to avoid drinking too much, Leshner said.

Other tips for a safe vacation on the center’s Web site include wearing sunscreen, being aware of drinking limits, using a designated driver, setting sexual boundaries, staying in groups with friends and getting the car checked out before leaving.

2. Don’t mix alcohol and energy drinks

Energy drinks may attract student drinkers because of their effects, a student said.

“It’s kind of glamorous because it’s being able to drink but still having the energy to go out and stay out and party hard and you know you are going to have that energy drink to back you up,” said Traci Clayton, a senior strategic communication major.

However, a study at the University of Florida showed that students who mixed energy drinks with alcohol were three times more likely to be intoxicated. It also showed that the students were more likely to stay out drinking for longer and that they were four times more likely to drive while intoxicated.

3. Heed travel advisories

The Texas Department of Public Safety is also urging students to consider the safety of their travel destinations.

The agency warned students to avoid Mexican border towns because of drug war violence and urged students to travel elsewhere.

“Parents should not allow their children to visit these Mexican cities because their safety cannot be guaranteed,” DPS Director Steven C. McCraw said in a press release.

State Trooper Rex Akin said non-border cities, like popular spring break destinations Acapulco and Cancun, are still safe to travel to because drug violence is not a big problem there. He said the DPS was more comfortable with people traveling to those areas.

Akin said students traveling to non-border cities should still follow normal tourist safety guidelines, such as paying attention to surroundings, staying in groups and not wandering off alone.

David Baker, assistant director of the Texas Highway Patrol, stressed the importance of having a safe vacation in the press release.

“We want spring break to be memorable, but in a good way,” Baker said. “You don’t want to get arrested for (driving while intoxicated), receive a ticket or be injured somehow because you were irresponsible. Have fun, but please be safe.”

TCU News Now reporter Elise Smith contributed to this report.

More tips for a safe spring break

Don’t text while driving.

Wear seat belts.

Don’t drink and drive.

Find a sober friend to drive.

Don’t leave drinks unattended, and don’t accept drinks from strangers.

Keep a fresh driver behind the wheel, or stop every couple of hours to rest and walk around.

Make sure the travel vehicle is properly maintained.

Keep friends close.

Source: Texas Department of Public Safety