April 6, 2003 -- Have a Safe, Fun Spring Break

It's that time of year again. Prom. Graduation. But first comes Spring Break. Once dominated by the college crowd, more and more high school students are getting in on the tropical tradition. Whether you're staying stateside and heading to places like South Padre Island or Panama City Beach, or venturing farther off to Cancun or Jamaica, make sure you stay safe so you can make it to those other big spring events.

By now you've probably heard it all about the dangers of drinking and driving, or riding with someone else who has been drinking. Maybe you've even signed the Positive Promise, assuring your parents you'll do no such thing. Don't let your commitment slide just because you're out of town and away from the watchful eye of adults. Those dangers are just as real - even more so - when you're in an unfamiliar town clogged with thousands of spring revelers.

Not to spoil your fun, but drunk drivers aren't your only safety concern. Of course Spring Break is all about friends, relaxation and meeting new people, but that laid back state of mind can make you a target for crime. Spring Break is not only a time of increased traffic fatalities, but also of drownings, falls, fights, rapes and robberies.

The best way to avoid being a Spring Break headline is to stay sober and alert. Here are some other tips for doing just that:

Always pour your own soft drinks. You never know what someone else can drop or pour in your Pepsi.
Never set your soft drink down. See above. You could also get your drink mixed up with someone else's.
No moonlight strolls alone or with someone you don't know well. Actually, that's good advice for the daylight, too. No sense making yourself a target at any hour.
No moonlight swims, either. This one's pretty self explanatory.
Keep your personal information personal. Don't give out your hotel name or room number to anyone. When asked where you're from, the name of your town will do; no one needs any more detail than that.
Avoid obnoxious, rowdy and/or rude people. Even if they are bothering you, it's better to avoid confrontation with people who may have been drinking. Go someplace else or let the police or security guard handle the situation.

Safe Ideas for Spring Break fun:

  • Start a game of beach volleyball or water polo
  • Build a sand sculpture or have a sandcastle building contest
  • Find an amusement park or arcade
  • Ride go-carts or play mini golf
  • Shop for souvenirs
  • Have a special Spring Break scavenger hunt (such as getting people to give you T-shirts from their home states)
  • Take tons of photos
  • See how many pictures you can get taken of you and your friends at different Spring Break attractions. Be creative
  • Do Mother Earth a favor (and make your mother proud) by cleaning up a section of the beach

Just think, by not drinking during Spring Break, you'll not only reduce your chances of being in a car wreck, becoming a crime victim or suffering a tragic accident, you'll also minimize your chances of:

  • falling asleep in the sun and suffering a vacation-ruining sunburn
  • nursing a nasty hangover
  • stumbling, slurring or engaging in other embarrassing behavior
  • getting in fights
  • becoming the school gossip's big story

Besides, drinking is illegal until you turn 21.

Whether you're leaving town or staying home for Spring Break, make sure you can live to tell about it.


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