Prepping for the college road trip: Tips for staying safe on spring break

As your student gets ready for that epic road trip with friends this spring break, remembering to stay...

As your student gets ready for that epic road trip with friends this spring break, remembering to stay safe is probably the last thing on his/her mind. No problem, that's where you, the ever vigilant parent, come in! While your young adventurer will no doubt attempt to shrug off your sage advice, don't let that stop you from supplying it. Below you'll find a few tips that'll ensure not only a safe road trip, but a safe return, as well.

Rent a car

This may not be possible for everyone, but it is definitely recommended. Chances are a rental car has fewer miles on it than their kick-around and is probably more reliable, as well. Also, most rented vehicles come with standard roadside assistance billed into the cost of the rental. It's an invaluable safety net should your young wayfarer need it. If renting a car isn't a possibility, having a thorough tune-up performed on the vehicle before the trip is a must; have one of your Atlanta-area mechanics take a look at it.

Buddy up/never drive alone

This may seem like common sense, but it's easy to become overwhelmed in new and unfamiliar locations. Make sure that if your son or daughter is making a long drive, that they do so only with another driver present. (However, avoid encouraging groups since more than one passenger can create distractions.) Road fatigue and night blindness are a reality even for the young and energetic. Remind them to drive in shifts and not to be afraid to stop at well-lit, populated rest stops for a break. Advise your traveler to only ride with familiar people and avoid venturing off with persuasive and potentially dangerous strangers. If there is an itinerary, stick to it! And make sure that he/she only plans to visit well-known (and well-traveled), tourist-friendly locations.

Watch your valuables; never leave them in the car

Again, this may seem like a given, but it's spring break. The fun will fizzle quickly if your traveler no longer has the means to pay for the trip. Never keep cash, credit cards or ID in a wallet or purse while out in an unknown area. Encourage your child to use the front pant pockets, since back pockets are easy prey for pick pockets. If, as is likely the case, your spring breaker goes to a pool party, remind him/her to leave those things in the hotel room, or designate a single person to hold the group's belongings.

Set Limits

It's important that for the most part you let your spring break traveler define these. That isn't to say that you don't have say in potential funds and activities, simply that you allow him/her to exercise some autonomy. Asking about planned events is a good way to gauge your child's foresight in this regard. If he/she is evasive and aloof, stepping in and making firmer suggestions may be in order. You know your child, so trust your gut and act accordingly.

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