Tips for Student Travel

Before you GO there are some things you should KNOW about student travel.
Think through all aspects of your travel for any trip for safer, more enjoyable travel. To plan a responsible trip, please review the following sections. Click on each section heading to see information related to the topic.

Before you GO there are some things you should KNOW about student travel.

Think through all aspects of your travel for any trip for safer, more enjoyable travel. In planning a responsible trip, consider the following:

  • Is this trip something your organization should do?
  • Is the trip in line with the mission and purpose of your student organization?
  • Is the trip in line with your vision and goals for the student organization?
  • Does your organization have the capability and resources to plan such a trip?
  • Does this trip make sense for your organization’s membership? Bottom line, does this trip need to be taken to be beneficial to the group? What is the expected outcome?

Has the trip been approved through the organizational decision making process?

  • Have you discussed and assessed risks (financial, reputational, physical, and emotional) associated with this trip?
  • Have you made decisions about accepting, reducing or eliminating those areas of risk?
  • Do you have a plan for addressing the risk issues?
  • Have you discussed the trip with your advisor?

Have you planned appropriately to reduce risk?

  • Have you considered working with licensed, insured companies that can provide your travel service which can reduce risk for your group?
  • Have you initiated and completed any forms, waivers, rosters, etc., associated with your trip?
  • Do you have all the materials, equipment, and resources needed for a safe, responsible travel?

Forms for Student Travel

Documents such as these will be very useful, especially if a crisis occurs

Sample forms can be found on the Student Activities Center Event Planning website: https://union.fsu.edu/sac/eventplanning/forms-for-events

Sample forms include:

  • Waiver for Individuals: RSO Events
  • Waiver for Individuals: FSU Department or Entity Events
  • Travel Roster
  • Emergency Contact Sheet
  • Travel Plan

The Student Activities Center strongly encourages that copies of these documents be shared with the student organization’s advisor before the trip. Members of the Student Activities Center staff are available to discuss travel planning.

Travel Planning and Resources

Recognized student organizations should work with the Student Activities Center to obtain copies of suggested travel waivers and waivers for other high risk activities and events. To be cautious and proactive, RSOs should create a travel roster, emergency contact sheet, and travel plan before traveling and take a copy of these documents along on the trip.

The TRAVEL ROSTER should include:

  • Names of all the organization’s members who are traveling, including phone and email

The EMERGENCY CONTACT SHEET should include:

Emergency contact information for each member of the group traveling including:

  • Traveler’s Name
  • Emergency Contact
  • Phone number (more than one if available)
  • Relationship to the traveler

The TRAVEL PLAN should include:

  • Name of the organization
  • Dates of the trip
  • Destination
  • Lodging and Accommodations
  • Planned stops along the route
  • Phone number where the organization can be reached at all times
  • Phone number of the closest local hospital near the destination in case of emergency
  • The organization members who are on the trip (travel roster)
  • Emergency contact sheet
  • Name of the organization President, contact information, and signature
  • Contact information for appropriate FSU contacts (advisor, department, etc.)

WAIVERS

All travelers should sign a waiver prior to leaving on the trip. If possible, waivers should specifically list travel as a risk included in the activity.

Sample waivers can be found on the Event Planning website

Documents such as these will be very useful, especially if a crisis occurs.

The Student Activities Center strongly encourages that copies of these documents be shared with the student organization’s advisor before the trip.

Tips for Air Travel
  • Comply with all federal laws regulating air travel and the rules of the specific airline you use
  • Comply with laws & rules regarding carry-on baggage and baggage weight restrictions

Air Travel for Student Organizations Using A&S Funds:
  • Once travel funding is approved through an SGA committee or group, fill out the Travel Request Form, adhering to current deadlines
  • Proof of payment must be turned in to SGA Accounting Office with the Travel Reimbursement Form
  • Complete any additional forms needed for travel through the SGA office
  • If flying from a city other than Tallahassee, the University Travel Office will require a letter of justification. The cost of the airline ticket should be cheaper from the departure city than the cost for a ticket out of Tallahassee plus mileage/parking or other transportation to the airport.

Tips for Rental Vehicles
  • Check with each private carrier about their specific policies
  • Rental car companies have a minimum age requirement for drivers
  • Many rental companies offer insurance on their vehicles. If the driver elects not to purchase this insurance, then the driver may assume all liability damage (property or personal), depending on the individual’s own insurance policy. FSU provides NO INSURANCE for rental vehicles – this responsibility lies entirely with the driver of the vehicle

Important: New Safety Procedure Implemented
  • If there is only one authorized driver, the vehicle must stop overnight if estimated travel time (one way) exceeds 10 hours. In other words, for an 18 hour trip (one way), students may drive 10 hours then must stop overnight before driving the remaining 8 hours.
  • As an alternative, Avis will approve a 2nd driver but only if this person is 25 or older.

Renting a Vehicle as a student organization using A&S Funds:
  • If your organization needs to rent a vehicle, you must use the State Contract with Avis Rent A Car Inc. You can view FSU’s contract with Avis by visiting http://policies.vpfa.fsu.edu/bmanual/vehicles.html.
  • The cost of rental cars must be charged to a P-Card (SGA Credit Card) through the SGA Accounting Office. Reservations must be made by the SGA Accounting and Advising Office, COGS office or SGA Administrative office travel representatives.
  • The organization must submit completed Avis Car Rental request Form giving detail information as to the date and time the car will be picked-up and returned.
  • Only the student who is listed as the traveler on the form will be allowed to pick up and drive the vehicle.
  • This rental cost is pre-paid from your account.
  • Avis can also provide vans under the State contract as long as you have a justification. For example if you have number of students that will be traveling together on the same trip, a van might be necessary. This applies to both undergraduate and graduate organizations.
  • Obtain a quote by calling 1-800-338-8211 and reference the state contract code “AWD#A113400” class compact “B”. SGA Accounting/COGS will reserve the vehicle for you. Please submit an Avis Care Rental Request Form prior to your trip per SGA guidelines. Please make sure you entered your exact itinerary on the form with your travel request.
  • State contract requires the vehicle be returned with a full tank of gas. Gas can be reimbursed when a rental automobile is driven. Please submit your gas receipts to SGA Accounting with the Travel Reimbursement form after the trip.

Tips for Charter Buses

Travel Tips for Drivers
  • FSU provides no insurance coverage for personal vehicles.
  • Avoid all drinking, drugs, etc. including any prescription and non-prescription drugs.
  • Have in possession a legal driver’s license and up to date insurance.
  • Know, obey, and uphold all traffic laws.
  • Wear your seatbelt & ensure that your passengers wear them…at all times.
  • Take responsibility for passengers. Only transport the number of passengers recommended for the vehicle.
  • Do not allow the number of passengers in a vehicle to exceed the number of seat belts available.
  • Friends and family are not allowed to travel in state owned vehicles. Consider whether it is appropriate for friends or family to travel in personal vehicles while traveling for University activities.

Things To Do Before You Leave:
  • Check weather & make sure it’s acceptable and only drive in safe conditions.
  • Find directions to your destination and take the safest acceptable route.
  • Find address and contact information for your destination.
  • Gather contact information for any other drivers/vehicles going on your trip.
  • Gather emergency contact information for all travelers.
  • Have each traveler sign a waiver prior to travel and leave copies on file on campus with an officer of your organization or advisor.
  • Leave a copy of your destination information, stops in-between, contact information for drivers, and emergency contact information with your advisor on campus.
  • Gather contact information for appropriate FSU contacts.
  • Vehicle should be in proper working condition. Perform a thorough pre-trip vehicle maintenance check of your vehicle.

Things To Take With You:
  • Have all pertinent contact information on hand (FSU contacts, destination, other travelers, and traveler’s emergency contact information)
  • Have map and directions of your route and destination for all vehicles traveling if traveling in a group
  • Take a fully charged cell phone on the trip
  • Have AAA or other 24 hour roadside assistance available

Items to Carry:
  • Charged cell phone
  • Flashlight
  • Jumper cables
  • Toolkit
  • Flares
  • Bright orange vest
  • Spare tire & jack
  • First aid kit
  • Disposable camera
  • Blankets and bottled water
  • Ice scraper if going to cold weather area

Safe Driving:
  • Drivers should be well rested, healthy and alert. Take breaks from driving and avoid driving more than two to three hours at a time.
  • Avoid operating vehicle at late hours or very early hours when it may be harder to stay alert.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers or anyone you are not well acquainted with. Transport only those who are officially authorized to travel with your group.
  • Limit conversations with passengers while driving.
  • Avoid use of cell phone or playing music too loud while operating vehicle.
  • Require an alert passenger be seated in passenger seat at all times to assist the driver.
  • Avoid carrying firearms, ammunition, explosives, etc.
  • Avoid overloading vehicle with equipment, extra baggage, etc.
  • Be alert to construction areas or other hazards between you and your destination
  • Use the 511 telephone Travel Information System en route if available to get up to date road conditions
  • Coordinate and communicate departure time, arrival time, etc. to all concerned parties at home and at your destination point

Special Considerations for 15 Passenger Van Use:
  • Passenger vans that can carry up to 15 passengers have unique handling characteristics and should only be driven by drivers with experience operating these vehicles
  • No more than 10 persons should be transported in a 15-passenger van
  • Do not place baggage on roof or luggage rack
  • It is extremely important to check for proper inflation of tires
  • Avoid making sharp turns in a van
  • Avoid overloading the back cargo area with too much weight/cargo
  • Obey speed limits – never exceed 85 miles per hour for any reason in a vehicle of this type
  • Wear seat belts at all times – all passengers
  • More information on Passenger Van Safety

Travel Tips for Passengers:
  • Be aware that you are taking a risk riding in any vehicle and that you are doing so at your own risk and responsibility
  • FSU provides NO INSURANCE in case of an accident – this responsibility lies entirely with the driver of the vehicle.
  • Avoid all drinking, drugs, etc. including prescription and non-prescription drugs
  • Be safe passengers and do not disrupt the driver in any way
  • Know that the driver is responsible for your safety
  • Wear your seatbelt at all times
  • One passenger should be designated to sit in the passenger seat and stay alert in order to assist the driver

Travel Tips for Vehicle Maintenance:
  • Before a long trip, take your vehicle to be serviced
  • Have a full tank of gas, especially if driving in cold weather
  • Check oil level
  • Check fluid levels – power steering, brake, washer, transmission, and radiator
  • Check tire inflation and wear
  • Check battery
  • Check lights – headlights, brake, tail, hazard, turn signals
  • Check windshield wipers
  • Change oil every 3 months or every 3,000 miles
  • Rotate tires every 6 months
  • Refer to www.samarins.com and click on “long car trip car checklist” for further information on car care

Tips for Campus Vehicles
  • Campus vehicles are not available to recognized student organizations unless they are working directly through a FSU department
  • Know the name of your personal roadside assistance if the campus department does not have one established (i.e. AAA, etc.)
  • Have insurance information readily available from both the campus department and your personal insurance
  • Review policies on using campus vehicles at http://policies.vpfa.fsu.edu/policies-and-procedures/general-university/fsu-vehicle-management-program-fvmp
  • FSU faculty and staff must read the University statement regarding volunteer service and complete the following form at http://hr.fsu.edu/PDF/Forms/VolunteerService_F.pdf
  • Students who drive a University-owned vehicle must be employees of the University or must meet the specific definition of a volunteer and fill out the “Record of Volunteer Service Form” which can be found at http://www.hr.fsu.edu/PDF/Forms/VolunteerService_F.pdf
  • University departments may have other requirements, training, education, etc. for volunteer service in addition to having volunteers sign the “Volunteer Statement” that follows:

Volunteer Statement:

I understand that I am a volunteer as that term is defined in Section 110.501, Florida Statutes, and that I am volunteering to drive a Florida State University vehicle in the performance of an official University-related duty in accordance with Section 110.504. I agree and understand that in order to operate a Florida State University vehicle I must have in my possession a valid Florida driver license for the type of vehicle I am assigned to operate; that I will obey all laws and regulations regulating the operation of motor vehicles, as well as any Florida State University regulations and policies regarding use of University vehicles and transporting passengers; that I may not consume any alcoholic beverages or drugs, including nonprescription or prescription drugs, within eight (8) hours of driving; and that I must have personal motor vehicle liability insurance coverage in effect at all times while I am operating a University vehicle. I understand that in the event of an accident in which I am determined to be at fault, my personal motor vehicle liability insurance will be the first payer.

I further understand that although Section 110.504(4), Florida Statutes provides that volunteers shall be covered by state liability protection in accordance with the definition of a volunteer and the provisions of Section 768.28, Florida Statutes, State Risk Management may not be willing to afford such liability protection to students who are volunteers. Notwithstanding the possibility that I may not receive the liability protection afforded by Section 768.28, Florida Statutes, it is still my desire to volunteer my services as a volunteer driver. I also understand that pursuant to Section 110.502, Florida Statutes, as a volunteer recruited, trained, or accepted by Florida State University, I shall not be subject to any provisions of law relating to state employment, to any collective bargaining agreement between Florida State University and any employees’ association or union, or to any laws relating to hours of work, rates of compensation, leave time, and employee benefits, except those consistent with Section 110.504, Florida Statutes. I understand and agree that I must comply with applicable FSU regulations and policies. Finally, I understand that to the extent permitted by law, I shall be entitled to the protections of Section 768.1355, Florida Statutes, also known as the “Florida Volunteer Protection Act.”

Tips for Driving in Bad Weather:
  • Plan ahead:
    • Check the weather before you leave and allow additional time to reach your destination
    • Take an alternate route to avoid the brunt of bad weather if you can
    • Postpone your trip until the weather is improved
    • Carry a map in case a route change is necessary
  • Drive more slowly than usual to avoid skids and accidents
  • Leave more room in front of you as a “cushion” when driving in rain, sleet, snow, or other inclement weather conditions
  • Make sure all equipment on your vehicle is in working order:
    • Have tires and brakes checked more frequently in winter months
    • Windshield wipers should work and headlights should be clean
    • Before leaving clear ice or frost from windshield and mirrors
    • If you need to pull over to scrape ice or snow, do so in a safe place
  • Use low beams in fog:
    • Turn on headlights (low beams only) in fog, night or day
    • Maintain a long following distance and drive slowly in fog
    • Avoid going over the center line into oncoming traffic – stay right
  • Listen to the radio for weather updates or alternate routes
  • Be sure you and your passengers wear your safety belts at all times
  • Pull over if you need to at a safe spot off the road and rest if you are tired or the weather gets particularly bad
  • If the bad weather involves snow or heavy rain, be sure you are not pulling over into a deep puddle or snow bank

Driving During Inclement Weather Conditions

Driving on Snow or Ice

Driving During Various Weather Conditions

Breakdowns and Accidents

Tips for When Your Vehicle Breaks Down:
  • The first consideration should be for the safety of yourself and your passengers
  • Determine your location by noticing landmarks, signs, road markers, etc.
  • Pull off the road as far as possible to the right and on level ground
  • If you cannot get your vehicle to a location away from traffic or if you are uncertain about your safety and think your vehicle may be struck from behind, do not stay in the vehicle
  • If you smell gas extinguish any lit cigarettes and exit the vehicle immediately
  • Do not stand behind or directly in front of your vehicle
  • Do not risk injury by attempting to push your vehicle to a safe location
  • If you cannot pull off the road turn on the vehicle safety flashers, place flares or warning triangles directing traffic away from you
  • Raise your vehicle’s hood and tie a brightly colored cloth, etc. to the antenna or door handle
  • If you have a cell phone call for roadside assistance or help immediately. Make the call from your vehicle if you are safely out of traffic. Otherwise, call from a safe distance from the vehicle and the roadside
  • In most circumstances if you are able to pull away from traffic, it is safest to remain in your vehicle until help arrives
  • If you have no cell phone and must rely on the assistance of a stranger, have them notify the authorities for you
  • Remain calm and cooperative when assistance reaches your location

Tips in Case of an Accident:
  • If you are involved in an accident while driving, you must stop.
  • If anyone is hurt, you must get help.
  • Pull over to the side of the road if possible and turn on your hazard lights
  • Contact the appropriate law enforcement agency and request immediate assistance (dial 911)
  • Trade information with everyone involved in the accident:
    • Name, address, phone number of all drivers
    • Name, address, phone number of all passengers and/or witnesses
    • Driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers
    • Insurance companies of all drivers involved
    • Registered owners of all cars
    • Year, model, make, etc. of all cars involved
  • Do not discuss what happened with anyone but the police. Do not say it was your fault, and do not make accusations. Take your own notes of what happened if conditions allow and photos of the scene and vehicles if possible
  • Immediately report the accident to your insurance company
  • If you have or suspect an injury, visit the doctor right away

Tips in Case of a Rental Car Accident:
  • Follow steps listed above in “Tips in Case of an Accident”, and add the following steps:
  • Call the police, even with very minor accidents where negligible damage occurs
  • If the police do not show up (in minor accidents) then file a state vehicle accident report through a local police station or on the state’s department of motor vehicles website
  • Notify the rental agency about the accident, immediately if possible, if not then within 24 hours
  • Check your rental contract to see if there’s a number to call for the office where the car was rented…if not then call the company’s emergency roadside assistance number instead to report the accident
  • Follow directions of the rental company concerning the drivability of the rental car or securing a replacement vehicle to continue your trip
  • Be aware of the insurance coverage available through rental agencies. If no rental insurance was purchased your personal insurance will be the primary insurance

Tips in Case of a State Vehicle Accident:
  • Follow steps listed above in “Tips in Case of an Accident”, and add the following steps:
  • Call the police, even with very minor accidents where negligible damage occurs
  • If the police do not show up (in minor accidents) then file a state vehicle accident report through a local police station or on the state’s department of motor vehicles website
  • Notify the your department about the accident, immediately if possible, if not then within 24 hours
  • Fill out any applicable paperwork regarding the accident required by
  • FSU Environmental Health and Safety and your department

Traveling with a Trailer
  • Towing a trailer should only be attempted by drivers who have extensive towing experience
  • Documentation on ownership and insurance coverage of trailer should be kept with the vehicle
  • Ensure that the trailer has proper and up to date tags
  • Ensure cargo on or in the trailer is loaded compactly toward the front of the trailer, placing most of the weight on the tongue
  • Ensure that all cargo items are properly secured in the trailer
  • Be sure tire pressure is at recommended level, and check this often
  • When attaching trailer to vehicle, be sure that ball completely engages trailer hitch, lock hitch down and secure with safety pin, bolt, or lock
  • Connect safety chains in a crisscross fashion
  • Check trailer lights to ensure turn signals, flashers, brake lights and running lights function properly
  • Trailers significantly increase the distance needed to stop. Be aware of this and allow plenty of time for braking
  • Be aware of the added vehicle length by allowing extra room for changing lanes, passing, turning, and parking
  • During trips frequently re-check the trailer hitch and trailer lighting
  • To prevent trailer rollover, you must steer gently and travel slowly around corners, on-ramps, off-ramps, driveways, and curves
  • Never allow anyone to ride on or inside of a trailer – not even for a short distance
  • The gross weight of the vehicle should not exceed the manufacturer’s suggested maximum payload
  • When driving in snowy conditions, chains are helpful on the trailer as well as on the pulling vehicle

Tips for Backing a Trailer:
  • When backing a vehicle without a trailer attached, turn the steering wheel toward the direction you want to go. When backing a vehicle with a trailer, turn the steering wheel the opposite direction. Once the trailer starts to turn you must turn the wheel the other way to follow the trailer
  • When backing try to position your vehicle so that you can back in a straight line
  • If you must back on a curved path, back to the driver’s side so you can see
  • Back slowly in order to make corrections before getting off course in backing
  • Use the mirrors to keep watch on the trailer while backing
  • Correct drift immediately – as soon as the trailer begins to move off course
  • When backing off course, correct by turning the steering wheel in the direction of the turn.
  • Pull forward intermittently when backing, making pull-ups to reposition the vehicle
  • Always use a spotter when backing a trailer to avoid blind spots

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