Las Vegas is increasingly a popular choice for spring break. Our city offers college students great weather, world class hotels, and entertainment shows not found anywhere else. And did we mention gambling? Gambling is legal for someone 21 or older. It’s no wonder that many college students book a
flight to Sin City for a few days before returning to wrap up their spring semesters.
If you’re driving out to Las Vegas, or if you are renting a car once you land by plane, please remember to use proper safety. Below, the legal team at Ladah Law offers some spring break safety driving tips to ensure you get back for final exams in one piece.
Check the Tires Before Heading Out
A flat tire can derail an entire spring break, stranding you on the side of the road for hours. Make sure you check your tires to see that they have the proper pressure. You can typically find the recommended pressure listed somewhere on the driver’s side door when you open it. Use a pressure gauge and put some air in—but not too much. A blown tire is a good way to lose control of your vehicle and end up hitting someone.
Also check the tire tread. It rains in the spring, even in Las Vegas, and low tread can increase the odds of a hydroplaning accident. You might need new tires before you start on your trip.
Have a Tune Up
Don’t stop with just checking your tires—instead, get a tune-up. The mechanic should check belts, hoses, and spark plugs and also replenish fluids if they get low. With your car in tip top shape, you reduce the risks of an accident.
Leave in the Morning
To maximize their spring break, some students leave after their last class on Thursday or Friday. This is usually a mistake. Yes, you will get to your destination sooner, but the odds are that you will be driving during the night when you are used to being asleep. Even young people need rest, and fatigued driving is a huge contributing factor in many accidents.
If possible, head out in the morning. This way, you will be refreshed as you are driving. No one should be driving into Las Vegas, with our busy traffic, late at night. It is easier to drive during the day.
Wear Your Seat Belt
Safety first. Some people find wearing a seatbelt uncomfortable for long trips and are tempted to take theirs off or, just as bad, adjust the shoulder strap so that it is behind their back. Instead, wear a seatbelt as intended.
Avoid Texting & Driving
College students love their phones. We get it! But the last thing college students need is to be a party to texting while driving accident claims. Studies have shown that cell phones reduce a driver’s ability to see their environment by up to 50%. (That’s like driving with one eye shut!) And don’t think you can whip out your phone at an intersection while the car is stopped, either. Research shows that sending a message creates a cognitive distraction which can last up to a half minute. Any distraction is dangerous. But it is doubly dangerous when driving in an unfamiliar place like Las Vegas.
A better bet is to have one passenger use their cell phone or a GPS device, if necessary. Everyone else should have their electronic devices stowed in the trunk with their luggage.
Never Drink & Drive
Alcohol flows freely during spring break. More than one college student has blacked out and not remembered where they were. Drinking to the point of intoxication is risky.
Drinking and driving is perhaps the riskiest activity of all. Our Vegas drunk driving accident lawyers have represented countless people injured when an impaired driver slams into them. Always designate someone to be sober and drive your group around the city.
Take a Cab or Public Transportation in Vegas—Especially at Night
Yes, having a car is convenient. But, on second thought, maybe not. If you drive around the city, you’ll need to pay for parking in most places, or navigate a hectic scene. Driving on The Strip is a mistake, even for seasoned drivers. There are so many people weaving in and out of heavy traffic that accidents are common.
We especially recommend taking public transportation if your group is going out drinking. Appointing a designated driver is sensible but not a foolproof way to avoid an accident. For one, your designated driver might slip up and have a drink. For another, he or she can still get distracted by drunk passengers puking in a car or hanging out the window. Cabs, Uber, or the bus are better choices for nighttime trips.
Ask for Directions, if Necessary
Finding your way around Vegas is difficult, especially if you leave the Strip. More than one visitor has gotten lost and, in their confusion, ended up in a collision. A GPS device might seem like a lifesaver, but using it while driving is a distraction. Our recommendation: stop and ask for direction from someone who seems trustworthy or get directions ahead of time from the hotel or motel where you are staying.
Take Coronavirus Precautions
Yes, case counts have been falling throughout the winter after the omicron variant peaked. But the coronavirus is still a threat, especially to elderly relatives you might visit at the conclusion of your spring break trip. We recommend that you carry hand sanitizer with you and get to the emergency room if you start to feel common COVID symptoms.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Legal driving is safe driving. We can’t guarantee you’ll avoid an accident. But following the rules of the road will dramatically reduce the odds. You should always follow the speed limit, yield the right of way, and maintain a safe distance between you and the car ahead (no tailgating!) Also remember to use your turn signal and always come to a complete stop before making a right turn on a red light.
Watch for Pedestrians & Cyclists
Warm weather creates an incentive for people to walk or ride a bicycle in and around Las Vegas. You never know when someone might jump into the middle of traffic. Motorists are required to share the road with cyclists and stop at intersections when pedestrians are crossing. Always yield the right of way and be extra safe by giving pedestrians and cyclists a big cushion if you come across one.
Stop Immediately if You Hit Anyone
Nevada law requires that motorists immediately stop their vehicles after an accident and to call the police. The law also requires that you render aid or offer to call an ambulance. It is a crime to flee the scene of an accident, which can have repercussions going forward. The last thing a college student on spring break needs is a criminal record.
Contact an Attorney if You are Injured
Even the most careful driver can be hurt in a crash. Seek prompt medical care and then find an attorney who can help you obtain compensation. At Ladah Law Firm, we have helped many college students injured on Spring Break. Our representation includes negotiating a settlement or even going into court to vindicate our client’s rights.
Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation, 702-252-0055. Although hiring a lawyer back home might sound convenient, negotiating a car accident case is difficult from a distant state. Our Las Vegas lawyers know all the big insurers around and can handle your case efficiently.