A spring break trip to a sunny location is a college rite of passage. After having spring break plans thwarted for the past two years thanks to the pandemic, college students are ready to get away. While we’re all for spring break fun, we are also big proponents of spring break safety. Trust us, you don’t want to sustain a catastrophic injury when you’re far from home in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by sleep deprived twenty-somethings! So, while you’re waiting for your flight at the airport or sitting in the backseat of a car for hours, take a few minutes and read these tips:
Alcohol-related Injuries and Wrongful Death
If students choose to drink, it’s essential that students drink responsibly. Sadly, and tragically, we have represented students who were present during binge drinking that led to the death of a student. Don’t put yourself in a situation where the unimaginable happens. Please, keep in mind the following admonitions:
- Eat up and drink up (water, that is). Before going out, be sure to eat dinner. Once you’re out, grab some snacks, too. And, always mix in some water. In fact, chug water – throughout the night and once you get home. You’ll thank us in the morning.
- Binge drinking – faster isn’t better. It’s just an invitation for vomiting and/or alcohol poisoning!
- Be careful about mixing medication with alcohol. Antidepressants, antibiotics and cold medicine can be extremely dangerous when combined with alcohol. Combining pills and alcohol is a recipe for disaster.
- Make sure your phone is charged before going out. Having a fully charged phone is important for more than just taking selfies. A charged phone will make it easier to order an Uber at the end of the night and to stay in touch with friends. The buddy system isn’t just for little kids; it keeps everyone safe.
- Know when it’s time to go and have a plan. Talk to your friends ahead of time about where you’re going (or at least plan to go), when you might want to leave at the end of the night and how you’re getting home. Of course plans change, but it’s still a good idea to talk about them ahead of time. Uber, cab or a designated driver – whatever the plan might be, have a discussion before leaving.
- Stay out of the water! Drowning is more common than you think, especially if you don’t have the motor skills to fight a strong tide in the ocean.
Avoid fights, at all costs. Close your mouth and don’t try to be a hero. It’s okay to walk away from a fight even if you didn’t start the fight. That being said, we’ve represented students who unwittingly found themselves seriously injured in a fight. If that happens, there are lots of legal issues to navigate.
First and foremost, call the police, if necessary, and seek proper medical care. Don’t wait to go to the emergency room to see if you have a sprain or fracture in your hand or other part of your body. Broken bones don’t get better in the morning. Neither do concussions. In addition, take photos of any injuries and compile a list of witnesses. And, of course, tell your parents what happened. If you’re potentially at fault for initiating a fight, your parents might want to contact their insurance carrier to put the carrier on notice of a lawsuit, which could be covered under homeowner’s insurance.
Drug-Related Deaths or Injuries
You know not to take drugs. However, please be careful and aware that drugs may be laced with fentanyl. Many students think that they are just smoking marijuana, unaware that the marijuana is synthetic or mixed with a deadly chemical. The same goes for pills. Don’t take a street Xanax or other drugs – again, it could be laced. Unless you use a fentanyl test strip, you would have no way to know otherwise since the fentanyl is undetectable to the naked eye. All it takes is an amount less than you could fit on a pinhead of fentanyl to be fatal.
Whether drunk or sober, be careful when dancing the night away or prancing around late at night in high heels. Also, make sure you are careful hanging out on balconies that could be unstable or have weak guard rails. We have seen students get seriously injured leaning on glass or rails that collapse under them. Just be mindful that too much pressure can lead to major injuries.
What if something goes wrong?
If something goes wrong, don’t leave the scene. Fleeing the scene will bring other problems that could be worse than whatever is giving a student the urge to flee. Whether it’s a car accident, an overdose or a fight – try to remain as calm as possible.