New Year's Eve is one of the most highly anticipated party nights of the year and many people have a tendency to overindulge. Whether you are hosting, attending a party, or going to a special event, it is important to maintain your good judgement and avoid unnecessary risks.
House parties are a great way to ring in the new year but there are some important considerations to make during the planning stages in order to create a fun, and safe, environment for you and your friends or family. As a host it is usually a good idea to remain fairly sober in order to keep an eye on your guests and make sure the party does not get out of hand. If you are providing alcohol to your guests you can be held responsible if they drink and drive in much the same way as a bar or restaurant can be. The best way to prevent being held liable for drunk driving related accidents is to prevent drunk driving: enforce designated drivers for the evening and consider taking car keys away from those known to indulge.
Encourage your guests not to drive by telling them that there is limited parking. Not only will your neighbours thank you for not filling the whole street with cars, drinking guests will have no option but to seek other ways of getting home. Make it clear that your limited parking spots are prioritized for the designated drivers. Another great way to encourage responsible drinking is by keeping the number for a local cab company by the phone. This way it will be easy for guests to call a cab instead when it is time to go home.
Keep outdoor lights by the front door and leading to the street on until the last guest has left to help prevent injuries and ensure the path is free of obstacles. If you have any pets which are easily spooked or excitable keep them inside and away from the party for their safety and that of your guests.
Be sure to provide plenty of non-alcoholic refreshments for your designated drivers and those who need to take a break from the more powerful beverages. Have plenty of snacks at hand by try to avoid too many salty ones as they will make your guests thirstier and lead to increased drinking. Finally, stop serving alcohol an hour or two before the end of the party to give guests a time to sober up a bit before leaving. Engage your guests in conversation before they leave to make sure that anybody who is planning on driving away is fit to do so and be ready to offer a couch or spare room if necessary.
If you are heading out to a special event for the evening instead be sure to have a buddy along to help you make better judgement calls. Establish rules before you start drinking and hold each other to them in order to prevent unfortunate bad judgement calls once under the influence. Have a way home planned and never leave your drink unattended, even for a moment. Even if you need to go to the bathroom: finish it, leave it with your trusted friend, or take it with you.
Have fun and a safe and happy New Year!