Safe travels during spring break

Published 7:24 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2015

CONTRIBUTED FUN IN THE SUN: Panama City Beach, Fla., is a popular spring break destination for college students.

FUN IN THE SUN: Panama City Beach, Fla., is a popular spring break destination for college students.

For students and educators alike, this is typically the point in the semester where exhaustion beings to set in, the glamor of the winter sabbatical having long passed. This week has likely been full of teachers cramming in exams at the last minute and students cramming for those exams, all in anticipation of the impending vacation. But don’t worry, the halfway point in the semester (who’s counting) is in sight.

Today, when the final bell sounds, students attending Beaufort County Schools will begin Spring Break, which will run from Friday to Sunday, April 12. Teachers begin their break on Saturday, Friday being a teacher workday.

The vacation means more people, young and old, will be traveling, whether that’s on the roads here in Washington, across North Carolina or via airline internationally. Before you get in your car, however, there are a few things your should take into consideration.

First, with increased traffic, there has never been a more appropriate time to obey the traffic laws. As obvious a statement as that may be, police will be out in full force and you won’t get away with some of the small violations, or bad habits, you’re accustomed to getting away with.

According to a recent study by the journal Economic Inquiry, there are more deaths caused by car accidents this time of year compared to any other time of year, including summer (h/t The Guardian). The reasons are primarily alcohol related and while very few will be vacationing to Washington for Spring Break, with East Carolina University so close by, it’s smart to be perceptive when on the roads.

Things like coming to a full stop at a stop sign, waiting that extra second or two while attempting a right-hand turn on red or simply using your turn signal — something so basic and easy to do, yet, often disregarded — could save your life.

Secondly, regarding alcohol, be smart. While no one should be drinking underage, there will always be those willing to take the chance and break the law, more so during Spring Break. If you’re one of those few, or even a person of age, save the rest of us the trouble and avoid getting behind the wheel. It’s never the alcohol’s fault.

Thirdly, for the adventurers traveling out-of-state or abroad, be even more mindful of your surroundings. Research travel routes, call ahead and investigate unfamiliar areas before hitting the road (or sky) — never travel blind.

But above all else, whether you’re traveling to Rome, running a marathon or watching a marathon on Netflix, enjoy yourself. The vacation will come and go in no time, so the next week offers a perfect opportunity to de-stress and enjoy the spring weather.