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Your New Year's Eve Safety Checklist

SATURDAY, Dec. 30, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Millions of revelers hit the road after New Year's Eve celebrations and the inevitability of impaired drivers make the holiday one of the nation's deadliest.

High blood-alcohol levels are a factor in more than 50% of crashes on New Year's Day, the American Safety Council warns. Law enforcement officers will be on alert, with checkpoints and roadblocks in many places to check drivers for signs of driving while intoxicated or drugged.

If you'll be ringing in 2024 away from home, the council offers these tips to stay safe:

  • Plan ahead: Arrange for a designated driver, shuttle service or hotel stay before you go out. Consider using public transportation or cabs to and from your destination so you don't have to park in an unfamiliar place. SoberRides.org has a mobile site with options for a safe trip home. 

  • Walk wise: New Year's Day is also the year's most hazardous for pedestrians. If you are walking, stay on pedestrian paths and try to remain in well-lit areas. Cross only at crosswalks. If you're driving, watch carefully for those on foot.

  • Host safely: Consider having a designated driver ready to take guests home if needed. Offer guests non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of water. Serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in different colored cups, and dump those that are unattended so kids and pets don't consume them. Provide food and snacks -- but avoid salty ones, which encourage people to drink more. Stop serving alcohol hours before the party is to end. Be ready to offer guests a place to stay if needed -- even a blanket on the floor will keep them safe.The council also addressed other safety considerations:

  • Champagne: Chilling champagne to at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit will make the cork less likely to pop. Place a towel over the top of the bottle and hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle, pointing it away from yourself or others when it's time to open.

  • Fireworks: Check local laws. Fireworks may be illegal. If they're allowed, keep a bucket of water or hose nearby. Light fireworks one at a time and then move back. Never try to relight a dud; douse them and spent fireworks with water before discarding. Supervise kids and pets and never point or toss fireworks at another person. 

  • Guns: It was once tradition in some cultures to shoot handguns into the air. This is not only illegal, but falling bullets can be deadly. Keep firearms safely locked at this time.

More information

Washington & Lee University has tips for safe partying.

SOURCE: American Safety Council, news release, 2023

What This Means for You

Planning ahead will help you enjoy a safe start to the new year.

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