For most college students and high schoolers, today marks the beginning of Spring Break, an extended vacation away from the stresses of school and home life.
Indeed, this week-or-so can be an incredible adventure to lands unknown. Here are a few things to take into account before you hit the road.
Do Your Homework If Renting a Car
If you’d rather not put more miles on your personal vehicle, renting a vehicle may be the best option. However, do some homework before you leave the lot with a loaned ride.
We’ve already gone over the basics in a previous post. An additional, extremely important note, however: most rental companies have strict policies regarding out-of-state travel. In California, for example, rental companies typically restrict travel to directly bordering states – and the consequences for breaking the rules can be costly.
Be sure to read the policies and rules very carefully; you may realize that renting a car may not be worth the hassle.
Respect the Local Customs
Going somewhere you’ve never been can be an exhilarating experience, but don’t forget: unfamiliar regions also mean rules and etiquette you may not normally encounter.
Even within the United States, rules and regulations are different throughout the country. This is especially true on the road, when traffic laws and other forms of etiquette may change as you cross state lines. Here are some examples:
- In some states, using the right lane (aka “the slow lane”) to pass vehicles is not only looked down upon – it may actually be illegal.
- Turning right on a red light may be legal in states such as California, but in the U.S., that’s the exception, not the rule.
- You might be allowed to drive a couple mph over the speed limit in some states, but in others, even going 1 mph over can result in a speeding ticket.
Be sure to do your research if you’re going on a cross-country road trip. A vacation could easily result in a couple stressful encounters because you didn’t know the law of the land.
Absolutely No Drunk Driving – Even When You Don’t Mean To
Spring Break can be a fun time – a raucous period of partying, often with heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. Don’t get behind the wheel in these cases, even if you’ve just had a couple drinks. Endangering lives and potentially getting a DUI can be disastrous to your life, but it can get even messier out of state.
It’s also extremely important to keep in mind that, after a night of heavy drinking, you may not be 100% the next morning. According to AAA, if you were to drink from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at a rate of about 2 drinks per hour, you would still have a BAC of 0.08 at 7:30 a.m. – and that number wouldn’t go down to zero until 1 p.m. When in doubt, always get a designated driver, or hail a cab or vehicle from any other ridesharing service.