Whip out the party hats, confetti, and noisemakers. New Year’s Eve is on the horizon, which means that it’s almost time to ring in 2016 with loved ones.
New Year’s Eve is one of the most celebrated nights of the year. And it’s often a celebration that involves lots of alcoholic beverages, which makes the holiday a dangerous night to be on the road—the most dangerous night, to be exact. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the years between 2001 and 2005 averaged 36 fatalities on the nation’s roadways per day. But on New Year’s Eve, the average jumped to 54.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that an average of 10,000 people are killed each year in collisions involving a drunk driver. If you, your friends, or family members choose to imbibe on New Year’s Eve, keep these safety tips in mind.
Be the Host with the Most
Buying tickets to enter a bar that’s jacked up drink prices for the crowd of men and women dressed in their finest and flashiest attire for NYE may not be your scene. You may prefer to bring the party to your home where you only interact with the people of your choosing and avoid waiting in absurdly long lines – getting shoved and stepped on – to get a drink or use the restroom. House parties are the laid-back counterparts of downtown bars on NYE. But as the host, remember that you’re responsible for your guests. Follow these guidelines to keep yourself, your home, and your guests safe:
- Keep your alcohol intake to a minimum. If your guests get drunk at your party, attempt to drive home, and cause a collision that injures or kills someone, you’ll likely be held liable. Minimize the amount of drinks you consume so that you accurately monitor your guests’ alcohol intake and cut them off if need be.
- When guests RSVP, talk to them about their travel plans and make sure everyone appoints a designated driver.
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers and guests that don’t wish to consume alcohol. There are lots of fun and festive alcohol-free cocktail recipes out there to try.
- Serve plenty of food so that guests aren’t drinking on an empty stomach. And keep salty snacks to a minimum. Saltier spreads make guests thirsty, which encourages them to drink more.
- Avoid playing drinking games. Drinking games often make it difficult for guests to keep track of how much they’ve had to drink, which can be hazardous toward the end of the night.
- Take guests’ keys on arrival and call a cab on their behalf if they seem intoxicated when it’s time to leave.
- Hire a bartender. If you’re not comfortable cutting off friends and/or family members when they’ve had one too many, a bartender can take on that task for you and help monitor how much guests have had to drink.
You want to spend New Year’s Eve reminiscing about the best parts of 2015 and ringing in 2016 with those closest to you. Following these tips can help keep your holiday merry.
Paint the Town Red
The New Year is all about resolutions and becoming a better version of you. If your goal is to be less of a homebody and to hit the town more, you might find yourself at a bar on New Year’s Eve, rubbing shoulders with new and interesting individuals that could become your newest friends or a potential love interest. If you do find yourself in party attire cheering with hundreds of strangers as the ball drops and “Auld Lang Syne” plays over the speakers, remember these safety tips:
- Get a hotel room within walking distance of your event so you don’t have to drive home.
- Plan ahead and appoint a designated driver.
- Put the number for a local cab company into your phone or download the Uber app (if you don’t already have it) before you go out so you can schedule a driver at the touch of a button.
- Party in the city? Take the subway home!
- Go big! Hire a limo service or schedule a shuttle driver to pick you up and take you home.
Your best choice is to stay off the roads completely, but if you can’t do that, make sure you’re sober and drive cautiously. Just because you’ve played it safe and sober doesn’t mean everyone else has. Be vigilant, drive slowly, keep your eyes on the road, and be aware of every car sharing the road with you. And leave your cellphone turned off; 10% of driving fatalities were the result of distracted driving in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
New Year’s Eve and Insurance
Sometimes, taking all the precautions can still land you in less-than-ideal situations. For example, if you and all your buddies ring in the New Year together and appoint designated drivers to get home safely, you could still be involved in a collision with a drunken driver. If the worst happens, your insurance policies can protect you.
Policies for both home insurance and auto insurance can also include liability coverage. So if you throw a party and someone is injured at your home or if you cause a crash on the roadways after a soiree, liability coverage can help pay for medical, rehabilitation, and potential legal fees, up to your policy’s limits.
However you decide to celebrate, be alert, be aware, be safe, and have a Happy New Year!