Spring Break in South Carolina Sees Increase in Injuries
Spring Break season is here, and for many people, Spring Break is the first opportunity of the year to travel. Millions of people travel to relax and escape the stresses of their everyday life, visit friends and family, or explore new places. Many popular Spring Break activities include swimming, boating, drinking, and partying; however, these activities can lead to an increase in injuries during March and April each year.
Car Accidents Increase in Drivers Under 25
Traffic increases significantly in Charleston and throughout the southeast because of the influx of Spring Break travelers. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Spring Break traffic accidents are 9% higher among drivers under 25 years old. Whether you live near a popular Spring Break destination or are traveling yourself, be alert on the roads and drive safely. Be aware that drunk drivers may be on the streets as many Spring Breakers are drinking and partying while on vacation.
Boating and Water Sport Injuries
Charleston, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and many South Carolina destinations are a hotspot for Spring Breakers due to the warmer, coastal climates and access to the beach. After spending winter cooped up inside, many people prefer an escape to the beach or somewhere warm. These beach vacations allow for swimming, jet skiing, and boating, among other activities. Although engaging in water activities is fun, it can be dangerous if safety precautions are ignored.
The most common reason for boating accidents is operator inattention, from not knowing how to operate the boat or from a distracted driver. Consuming alcohol while operating a boat is dangerous and leads to serious and fatal accidents on the water. According to the U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics Report, in 2020, alcohol was the leading known contributing factor to fatal boating accidents. If you are boating during Spring Break, ensure that the boat driver is skilled and knowledgeable on how to operate the vessel. Be smart when drinking on the boat and do not allow anyone to drive the boat while drinking, as this is extremely dangerous for the driver, the passengers, and other boaters on the water.
Drowning is another major area of concern while boating or swimming. In 2020, 75% of fatal boating accident victims drowned, and 86% of those victims were not wearing a life jacket (U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics Report 2020). According to South Carolina boating laws, any person under the age of 12 must wear a personal floatation device (PFD), also known as a life vest, while riding in a class A motorboat. Anyone who is operating a motorboat or waterskiing must also wear a PFD. While adults can legally ride in a boat without a life vest, it is advised to always wear a life vest on the boat. Even if you believe you are a strong swimmer, life vests can help keep you afloat if there are strong currents or debris in the water or if you have been rendered unconscious. Taking these safety precautions can save your life if you are unexpectedly found in a position where the boat capsizes or you go overboard for any reason.
Biking and Scootering Dangers
Biking and scootering accidents are also common, and the dangers of riding go up when there is more traffic in the area. In 2019, there were over a thousand bicyclist deaths and over 700 of those victims died in crashes with motor vehicles (National Safety Council). Cities are beginning to take measures to make the roads more bicycle friendly by adding bike lanes on the streets. If you are biking on a road, ride on the side of the road or stay in the bike lane if there is one. Follow bicyclist traffic laws and be aware of your surroundings as you are riding. If you are on a sidewalk, alert pedestrians walking on the sidewalk that you are approaching and leave enough space between you and others. Wear a helmet when you are riding your bike as the helmet will protect you from severe brain injuries if you fall off your bike.
Electric scooters are growing in popularity and are in most major cities in the U.S. now; however, these e-scooters send thousands of people to the hospital each year. The e-scooters are very quiet, and it is hard to hear them approaching. If you are riding an e-scooter, be sure to let others on the sidewalk or road know that you are approaching or passing them. Ride your e-scooter at a speed that is controllable and not too fast to prevent crashes. Riding your bicycle or e-scooter recklessly can result in brain, neck, or spinal injuries, lacerations, concussions, broken bones, and fractures. Drunk scootering is never a good idea.
Vacation is a time to escape stress and relax. No one wants to return from vacation with injuries that cause more stress and discomfort. Play it safe and be smart while you are on vacation. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, a boating accident, or due to the negligence of others, call our experienced personal injury attorneys at (843) 720-2800. We have offices in downtown Charleston, Goose Creek, and Summerville, and we do not collect a fee until we win your case.