Legally Speaking

Going on Spring Break? Don’t Get Distracted While Driving

Mar 7, 2018 12:00:00 PM / by Stealey Law & Mediation

Are you and friends headed off to the latest hotspot for spring break? Are you planning on driving?

Read on to learn more about distracted driving risks, and tips to improve your driving.

In a study published by the Economic Inquiry, Michael T. French, professor of Health Economics in the Department of Sociology in the University of Miami (UM) College of Arts and Sciences, and one of the study authors, states:

"We found that between the last week of February and the first week of April, a significantly greater number of traffic fatalities occurred in spring break hot spots compared to other locations in the same states and at other times of the year."

The primary implication is that roadways are dangerous during the spring break period, not only for spring breakers, but also for the residents and other visitors of popular spring break destinations,” he continues.

This study found that the weekly death tolls from car crashes (in the 14 counties the study monitored) was 9.1 percent higher during spring break.

These car accidents and fatalities involves drivers from out-of-state and younger than 25 years of age. Obviously, this is a significant problem. What can you do to avoid being part of the statistics?

Spring Break Hot Spots 


  • Don’t Drink and Drive.

According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA), every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes—that's one person every 50 minutes in 2016.

If you are drinking, and you don’t have a designated driver (DD), then plan on taking public transportation, a taxi or walking (if your hotel is nearby).

If you drive under the influence, you can injure yourself, other passengers in the car, pedestrians and other drivers.

All states have laws that prohibit driving under the influence (drugs or alcohol). Specific consequences are different per state; however, common penalties include fines, license suspension, an installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) and/or jail time.

Jail time can range from a mandatory one day (for a first offense) to one week. For a second offense, it could be 48 hours and a third offense, 90 days.

A person could also pay a $500 fine, as well as court fees and license-reinstatement fees, and attorney’s fees.

Many states require a person who has been convicted of a DUI to have an IID installed in their car. An IID is an alcohol detecting machine that has be to be attached to the car’s ignition. Once installed, the driver has to blow into the device, otherwise the car will not start.


  • Take a Break & Rotate Drivers

Do not drive while you are overtired, it causes at least 100,000 police-reported crashes every year.

If your body is too tired to stay alert, ask someone else to drive or stop and recharge at a rest stop. Making sure you get to your destination in a hurry is not worth causing an accident.


  • Break Up the Drive

If you happen to be driving alone for a longer period of time, plan to stop at a nearby bed and breakfast or hotel.


  • Know the Route

A lost driver can easily get distracted from what is going around him or her. To avoid this issue, look at your route ahead of time on a map, and program the GPS. It is much easier to stay focused when you know your route.


  • Stay Alert of Road Conditions

You may be headed somewhere sunny, but the roads may still have marks from winter. Potholes that formed during the winter can make for potentially hazardous road conditions. Stay alert to the road conditions on which you are traveling.


  • Execute a Car Check.

Before going on a long road trip, make sure your car is safe for driving long distances:

  1. Tire pressure and inflation: Low air pressure in the tires can decrease fuel economy. If any of your vehicle’s tires are severely worn, replace them before you leave.
  2. Engine oil level: If your vehicle is due for an oil change, get one done before you go.
  3. Brake pad levels: With the cold winter, it is important that your brakes have enough fluid and will not get rusted. Also check the brake pads and rotors.
  4. Be sure to start your road trip with a full tank of gas, and it is always suggested to never let your tank get below the half-way mark in case you get lost and gas in not nearby.

The last thing you will want to deal with as you are heading out of town is oil leaks or low tire pressure. Take these precautions to protect yourself and your passengers.


  • Prepare Before You Leave

Don't just pack for your destination, pack for your drive. You should pack the following to be prepared for your drive:

  1. Pack a few blankets and a warm jacket
  2. Be sure to pack food and water
  3. Be sure to pack a spare tire, a jack and a roadside emergency kit in your car
  4. Bring an extra phone charger


  • Avoid Common Distractions

Distracted driving is anything that requires you to take your hands and eyes off of the road.

Distracted driving includes:

  1. Texting
  2. Eating
  3. Drinking
  4. Fooling with the radio
  5. Navigation system

Tip: If there is a passenger in the car, let him or her play DJ. You might find new music that you like!

Anything that takes your attention from driving is not safe. Distracted driving injures more than 421,000 people and kills another 3,000 people each year.

If you are a parent and want to monitor your teen phone habits or driving speed, check out our blog on phone apps that can prevent distracted driving.


Getting in an accident is scary, especially as an out-of-state driver who just wanted to go on spring break. Don't get distracted while driving!

If you need auto accident lawyer, call us today. We have 38 years of experience, and we can help you.

To help ensure your safety, download our free What to Do After an Auto Accident Checklist:


Topics: Auto Accidents, Distracted Driving

Welcome to "Legally Speaking" where we cover topics ranging from medical malpractice to distracted driving in personal injury cases. Jim was the co-host of a television program called "Legally Speaking" on Network West Virginia as well as a legal analyst for the local TV station and several radio stations. With 38+ years of experience, Jim Stealey provides client representation in a compassionate and dedicated manner. 

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