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Stay Safe This New Year’s Eve

Every year, millions of people around the world celebrate the new year. Some cultures, such as Thailand, historically fired off guns to frighten off demons (Don’t do this!!!). In China, loud fireworks are set off to celebrate and also fight evil spirits. In Denmark, plates and glasses are smashed against front doors to banish ill-intending ghosts. In the United States, many people watch the ball drop in Times Square and celebrate with a kiss and champagne toast.

Whatever your tradition, it is important to stay safe as the calendar turns from one year to the next. Often, New Year’s Eve is synonymous with alcohol and partying to excess. Here are a few tips to help you have the best New Year’s Eve ever and to stay safe while you celebrate.

Get a Designated Driver: If you are planning on drinking alcohol or consuming any substance for that matter, do NOT drive. Get an Uber, a Lyft, a taxi, or better yet, a designated driver who can keep an eye on you and your group. Every year, millions of people take to the road around the New Year holiday, and of those millions, many are unfit to drive. The National Safety Council estimates that from December 30th to January 2, 2023, over 400 people lost their lives due to drunk driving. If your plans change, opt for a plan B, but do not drive or get in the car with someone who is under the influence. Also, if you do need to leave your car somewhere other than home, park it in a well-lit area with the windows up and doors locked. Leave any valuables at home so as to not tempt would-be thieves.

Look Both Ways: Though you are likely smart enough not to drive impaired that doesn’t mean that doesn’t mean that everyone else is. The most hazardous day of the year is New Year’s Day, particularly during the early hours. Look both ways before crossing the street, and don’t leave anything to chance. Stop signs, traffic signals, and one-way arrows mean little to someone who has been partying hard. If you are driving, go slow and watch for people crossing the street or stepping into traffic.

Be a Great Host: If you are hosting a party, make sure to keep an eye on your guests. Watch for people drinking too much alcohol and/or drinking too quickly. Keep food on hand, such as sandwiches, pretzels, and rolls, to help fill stomachs and slow alcohol absorption. Make sure smoke alarms are in good order, and be ready to call a cab or some other ride for tipsy guests. Have non-alcoholic drink options, and don’t serve minors.

Fireworks: If you plan on setting off fireworks, check with authorities regarding local ordinances to make sure if it is even allowed. If necessary, leave the fireworks to the professionals. Some fireworks burn at over 2,000 degrees, so needless to say, booze and fire do not mix! Ensure you have water on hand and a large, open space designated for the show. If you have pets, skipping the fireworks altogether would probably be a good idea, as the noise scares most animals and may even lead to injury.

While it is important to have fun ringing in the New Year, the most important thing is that you and your loved ones live to celebrate the next one. If you drink, do so in moderation, and definitely don’t drive. Watch out for others both on the road and off, and always keep safety in mind.