Make sure you and your friends are safe getting to and from any event this New Year’s Eve. Whether you’re hosting a party or going out for the night, there are a number of ways to keep everyone safe this holiday.
Don’t forget to check state and local regulations regarding restrictions on gatherings. If you do choose to gather with family and friends, or head out to other parties, make sure to follow standard COVID-19 guidelines, such as wearing a mask, washing or sanitizing hands, staying 6 feet apart, and so on.
What are some dangers for driving on New Year’s Eve?
- Drinking alcohol affects your depth perception and information-processing skills, slowing down your central nervous system’s functions and reducing your reaction time.1
- Many people stay out late on New Year’s Eve, so drowsy driving is another concern. The effects of drowsy driving include impaired reasoning and performance, which can lead to motor vehicle crashes.2
- Causing an accident due to drunk or drowsy driving can lead to jail time, license suspension, and large fees. Causing a car accident can also increase your insurance premiums. At its most dire, you can injure or even kill other motorists.3
If you’re hosting the party:
- Serve nonalcoholic drinks. One of the easiest things to do at your party is to serve nonalcoholic drinks. Your guests may expect alcohol, or even bring their own, but giving guests a choice is a good idea for designated drivers or those who don’t care to imbibe.
- Have plenty of water on hand, and stop serving alcohol several hours before the party ends.4
- Provide food and snacks so guests aren’t drinking on an empty stomach.
- Ask your guests what plans they have for a designated driver. While it may seem intrusive, it will help you know if you need to confiscate anyone’s keys, provide a sober way home, or let guests stay the night.5
- Use a ride-sharing service as a gift. Party hosts can give the gift of an Uber or Lyft ride for an intoxicated or drowsy friend.
- Allow them to stay overnight with you. Let your guests know they can stay with you if they’re unable to drive for any reason. They may think they are a burden to you, but it can save them money, hassle and most importantly, a life.
- Seize keys at the door. As soon as guests arrive at your door, request their keys and place them in a locked room with purses and coats. While it may seem like overkill, this can prevent a tired or inebriated friend from leaving undetected.
If you’re heading out for the night:
- Avoid drinking if you’re driving. Sounds simple, but it’s the most effective way to protect yourself and other drivers.
- Have a designated driver. Have someone in your group stay sober, but make sure that person is responsible enough to make sure everyone gets home safely.
- Take public transportation, a taxi or use a ride-sharing service. If you’re feeling buzzed, woozy, tired or fear your judgment may be impaired, don’t take the chance and let someone else drive.
- Stay with your hosts. Ask your party host if you can stay overnight with them.
- Give your car keys to the host. If you question your judgment while drinking, or think you may be too tired to drive at the end of the party, think ahead at the beginning of the night and hand your car keys to your host.
- Look into local “Sober Ride” programs, or org, which offers a desktop and mobile site with options for how to get home safely.6
*This article was originally published December 30, 2020
1, 3, 5. American Safety Council (Drunk driving)
4, 6. American Safety Council (New Year’s Eve)