The Madison County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the American Medical Association and the Journal of American College Health is offering the following safety tips to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Spring Break. It’s hard to believe that Spring Break is just around the corner. With all the excitement of deciding on a destination and planning the trip, safety is the last thing a young person thinks about.
Please keep the following safety tips in mind while enjoying your spring break.
Before You Leave
Remember to bring your ID’s (Driver’s License and/or passport) as well as your health insurance card and allergy bracelets. Give a trusted friend or family member at home a copy of your travel plans itinerary.
New York State Law requires that you must be 21 to purchase, consume, or possess alcoholic beverages. Each state and/or country may have different liquor laws. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with them before you leave. Don’t drink and drive. There are plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives. Of college students, 97% under the age of 21 will be likely to drink during Spring Break. The average male will have 18 alcoholic drinks per day and the average female will have 10. It is estimated that 75% of college males and 43.6% of females reported being intoxicated on a daily basis during spring break. Nearly half of the males and more than 40% of the females also reported being drunk to the point of vomiting or passing out at least once during break.
Never accept open drinks from a stranger. Watch out for "rape" drugs. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Look for extreme wooziness, confusion, difficulty standing and slurred speech. These are symptoms that you may have unknowingly been drugged. If you or your friends exhibit these symptoms go back to your hotel, or to a hospital if the symptoms are severe.
Be aware of pickpockets who prey on people in crowds. They get close and bump into you without you noticing. Pickpockets also work in groups. One will distract while the other slips away with your goodies.
Use caution when using the ATM. Try to go during daylight hours. When you approach the ATM, do a full 360 degree scan, looking completely around you to see if anyone is hanging out where they shouldn’t be. When punching in your pin number, use your other hand to cover the keypad. Always be on the lookout for anyone suspicious. If you feel uncomfortable go to another ATM.
Lock you door, always use the peephole before answering. Never open your door to a stranger, if someone claims to be a staff member call the front desk first to verify them. Use the hotel safe for valuables. DO NOT CLIMB on balconies or sit on balcony rails.
The more friends you are with the less likely you will become a victim of a crime. Never walk alone or leave with a stranger. Use a “buddy” to help you keep the voice of reason. Women are more likely to be victims of sexual violence than men. Never allow yourself to be taken to an isolated location or walk alone.
Sun can maximize the effects of alcohol. Take it slow and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Stay within the designated swimming area and within the visibility of a lifeguard. Never swim alone. Watch out for traffic - some beaches allow cars. If you’re driving... obey the speed limit.
Hopefully, these safety tips can ensure a safe Spring Break. But the best safety tips above all else is to use common sense.