Around the world, New Year’s Eve is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated nights of the year. Here in Philadelphia, it is often the culmination of a long series of parties and gatherings that start around Thanksgiving and end… well, on January 1st.
New Year’s Eve is also unfortunately a night when a lot of bad can happen. In the early morning hours of January 1st, emergency departments across our region start to flood with victims of unfortunate circumstances. People don’t like to talk about it, but the reality exists. This most celebrated night is also a night of high crime, high injury and fatality rates, and numerous very serious motor vehicle accidents.
At Magee, sadly, there are times when we see the impact of these events, and we help. We’d like to help in a different way and offer a few tips for safe, but fun festivities on the eve of the New Year. Though you’ve likely heard most of them before, we hope you’ll take another look and sincerely consider how you can make this holiday a safer one for everyone.
Have a plan and stick to it. By far the best thing you can you do to assure a safe celebration is to make a plan AHEAD of time and make sure your whole party is on board. The stroke of midnight is not the time to figure out who is going to drive home or where you can crash for the night. Designate the driver well before the evening’s activities begin or make arrangements to have everyone stay in one place after the ball drops. Bad decisions are almost always the result of last minute planning or no planning at all.
Stay off the roads. Just because you’ve made responsible plans certainly does not mean others will. National DUI statistics consistently rank the New Year’s holiday as the deadliest day for alcohol-related fatalities. If you can, avoid being out on the roads all together. If you can’t, at least minimize the amount of travel time, drive defensively and make sure all passengers are wearing their seat belts.
Stay alert. New Year’s celebrations often involve a lot of people in one place at one time. When alcohol is added to that mix, a multitude of unexpected things can occur. Be aware of others and your surroundings. Travel in groups and make a pact to stay together.
Drink smart. If you are planning on enjoying an alcoholic beverage (or two… or three), doing so with some strategy can help make sure you’re still standing for Auld Lang Syne at midnight. Pace yourself and don’t forget to eat. Alcohol is a great diuretic, so to stay hydrated you need non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages mixed in with the martinis. Also, the effects of many medications are altered with alcohol and dehydration, so be sure to check out side effects and precautions if you are on any meds.
Drive smart. Don’t drink and drive. Just don’t. We know you’ve heard this a thousand times over, and yet to some these words are trite and powerless. Abiding by this well-known slogan means not even one drink. It means that even if you “pace” yourself, you are still not okay to drive. It means you pledge to drink sparkling apple cider or seltzer with lemon all night to assure you and your friends are around to celebrate next year.
Don’t get us wrong. Here at Magee we’re all about having fun. We love to celebrate and the New Year is no exception. But for all of our health, please pass along the tips above and definitely let us know other words of wisdom you have to share. Wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy 2014!