There’s a dark side to New Year’s Eve.
It’s a ton of fun to ring in the new year with parties, countdowns, bright lights, and festivities, but for those of you who are always on the lookout for danger at every turn, this is also the holiday for you. In 2013, around 95 million Americans were out on the road for the holidays, a number that has likely increased with every year. And according to USA Today, “people are much more likely to drink and drive around January 1 than during any other major holiday.”
So if you’re asking, “How can I stay safe this New Year’s Eve,” the answer is stay home and try very hard not to have any fun whatsoever.
Wait, that doesn’t sound appealing to you?
No matter. You can still get out there and have a good time. Just make sure you’re following these tips.
New Year’s Eve Safety Tips
1) Don’t Drink and Drive
This one’s so obvious, it’s almost hard to write down, but there will still be countless numbers of people who ignore the advice.
It’s plain and simple: if you choose to drink this holiday, plan ahead for transportation. Uber and other ride-sharing options are great (see our instructions for how to use Uber below). Or draw straws for designated driver status.
Side tip: Keep your drink with you at all times to avoid tampering.
2) Eat Lots of Food
That’s right, eat your heart out. You have our permission!
The reason is to give your body something else to work off of, other than drinks. According to Dr. David Samadi, “eating while drinking will slow down the absorption of alcohol in the digestive track [sic].” Foods high in protein are great here.
3) Know Your Surroundings
Many of you will be celebrating in unfamiliar public places or the private homes of acquaintances. Wherever you are, it’s worth your time to understand your surroundings.
Know your exits, which nearby roads are busiest, and where the well-lit areas are. If you need to leave in a hurry, you won’t have to spend any time figuring out where you need to go. You’ll also be able to avoid high-traffic areas.
4) Be Attentive to the Max
If ever there was a night to be hyper-vigilant on the roads, it’s probably New Year’s Eve (along with Halloween).
Watch the roads like you’re being paid a billion dollars to know everything that’s going on. As far as it depends on you, drive in lanes that are as far from danger as possible, and do not assume that anyone else is going to drive properly or use their blinker correctly.
You might even think about driving without any music, podcasts, or radio. Like, in total silence.
If this feels like complete and utter torture, then you probably need to do this more than anyone. Tell yourself, “My phone and radio are not my masters.” Then punch them in their faces—metaphorically.
5) Watch The Matrix
What?? Oh yeah, this is something everyone definitely needs to do before New Year’s.
I mean, what are you gonna do if wayward fireworks come careening at your face while you’re out just trying to have a good time? Catch them? I don’t think so.
You’re going to have to dodge it, bendy-Matrix style. So study up.
6) Look Out for Your Pets
This is a good suggestion that comes from Sacramento’s Fire District. Since the roads will be so busy out there, this is a good night to keep the pets inside and away from danger. You don’t want your pet running around out there.
If you can’t bear to be without your furry friend, just be diligent, and use a leash whenever possible. Allowing them to roam may feel like freedom, but it’s actually a harsh thing to do on a night like this.
7) Don’t Pop Someone’s Eye Out With Champagne
I know you were probably thinking that this was a really good idea, but I’m sorry to say, it’s not.
How to Use Uber
For anyone who chooses to drink on New Year’s Eve (or really anyone who needs help getting home), it’s a great idea to use ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. Uber has even redesigned its navigation app to help drivers and riders end up in the same location more easily, which will be very helpful in the hustle and bustle of the busy night.
If you’ve never used Uber before, it’s a straightforward service in which everyday people transport you where you need to go in their own cars, taxi-style. Here’s a simple guide for using it.
1) Sign Up
You can visit Uber.com to set up a profile. You’ll put in your name, phone number (so the driver can call you), and your email. If you have a promo code, use it.
After you’re set up, download the Uber app on your phone. That’s what you’ll be using to request a ride.
2) Request a Driver
To request a driver and get a ride, open the app, sign in, tap “Where to?” and enter the place you want to go. You will also be asked for your ride type. For normal rides, choose “uberX.” There are also luxury options if you’re interested, or there’s a carpool feature called “uberPOOL” that is the cheapest option, but know that you’ll be sharing a ride with strangers.
Input how many seats you need, then share your pickup location. You will be able to drag the icon to wherever you want to be picked up on the map.
You will usually be able to see the cost of the trip upfront, but not always. You can choose your payment option within the app as well (e.g., Paypal or cash).
3) Things to Know
You don’t need to tip, but tips are appreciated.
You can also rate your driver afterwards, but as wikiHow states, anything less than a five-star review can damage their opportunities with Uber, so be thoughtful and assured as you review.
New Year’s Eve is certainly a dangerous holiday, but with a lot of foresight, caution, and care, you can put yourself in a position to enjoy it far more than you worry about it.
There’s a reason so many people are out that night: to have fun! Give yourself the freedom to have a good time and be around people you enjoy as you realign your goals and start the new year strong.
Just be safe, is all we ask!
By: Ryan Drawdy
December 26, 2017