New Year’s Eve is one of the most joyous holidays. We have the chance to celebrate the year we are leaving behind with loved ones as well as welcome in the challenges of the year to come. Unfortunately, during a holiday with such celebration, there are many dangers. With these 5 New Year’s safety tips, you can better prepare yourself and loved ones from dangers and instead enjoy a more fun holiday.

A group of people is celebrating with a toast as gold streamers and confetti fall to the ground.

1. Don’t Drink and Drive

This first New Year’s safety tip is obvious for a reason. Drinking and driving is not only dangerous to yourself but also everyone else in the vicinity of your vehicle. It should come as no surprise that January 1st has the highest percentage of deaths related to alcohol, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety data. Between 2007 and 2011, 42 percent of all traffic deaths during the holiday were directly caused by alcohol. Keep others from driving while intoxicated by suggesting they use other methods, like an Uber.

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    Plan a Sober Ride

    Drinking during New Years is not uncommon. But if you do choose to enjoy a cocktail or two, keep yourself and those around you safe by planning for a sober ride. Ask a sober friend or family member to take you home. Take an Uber, Lyft or even an old fashioned cab if that is your preferred method. You can even take a bus or train depending on where you live. Even in your sober ride, act appropriately so your driver can pay attention to the road. Remember, your driver may be sober, but there’s likely another driver near that is not.

    Alcohol related auto accidents are highest between the hours of 8pm – 2am.

    Two champagne glasses with gold streamers wrapped around them are on a black glossy surface with a silver bell beside them.

    2. Eat Dinner

    This may seem like an odd New Year’s safety tip, but a full stomach is a great way to avoid alcohol poisoning.

    Try to consume foods high in protein such as cheese, meat and nuts. These types of food will slow down the absorption of alcohol in the digestive system. This will give the alcohol more time to metabolize in the body resulting in a lower risk of alcohol poisoning. Our liver metabolizes about one alcoholic drink per hour. A good rule of thumb is a 12 oz. beer = 4-5 oz. of wine = 1.5 oz. of hard liquor. By sipping a drink rather than chugging it, your body will have more time to metabolize the alcohol which will result in less of a hangover. Consider ordering an appetizer if you’re out at a restaurant or snack on nuts while drinking at a bar.

    Don’t drink and drive, plan for a safe and sober form of transportation, be aware of your surroundings, be prepared for the dangers of fireworks and make sure there’s food is in your system.

    3. Be Aware of your Surroundings

    Unfortunately, during a holiday that’s notorious for people going out and drinking, there are individuals that will take advantage of this situation. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before leaving your house so you are able to stay in contact with someone. Try to travel in crowds with at least a few people you know and never accept a drink from a stranger. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to say something. If you feel uncomfortable with someone and think they may be a danger to you, alert the authorities. Even if police are not present where you are, most places with large crowds require professional security.

    Pink fireworks light up a dark black sky.

    4. Beware of Fireworks

    Fireworks are fun and pretty to look at but they can be extremely dangerous, not to mention possibly illegal. Depending on your state, lighting fireworks could be illegal but that doesn’t stop individuals from crossing state lines to purchase them. Even if someone else is lighting a firework on your property, you can be held criminally liable if any damage or injuries occur. If you plan on allowing fireworks, make sure your pets are inside. If you want them outside with you during the festivities, check your fence for security. You should also make sure they have on a collar with a tag. Consider getting a microchip for your pet as well. It may seem unnecessary now but you will be happy you did it when they go missing.

    An alternative to lighting fireworks on your own is going to see a public fireworks show. Many cities host their fireworks shows for locals to see. Search online to find the right one for you and your loved ones.

    A two-story home in a dark neighborhood has lights on inside.

    5. Don’t Let Anyone Know You’re Gone

    If you choose to celebrate the new year outside of your home, make sure your family’s absence isn’t obvious. Instead, give yourself peace of mind while you’re away by installing smart home security equipment in your home that can keep you connected to your property even while you’re away. Here are a few ways you can keep your home secure while you’re away.

    Keep your Lights on a Timer

    The great thing about keeping lights on a timer is that it creates the illusion that your family is home when in actuality you’re watching the ball drop somewhere downtown.

    Many light timers have different settings for you to choose from so you can make sure they switch on when it’s beginning to get dark outside or switch off when the sun is rising.

    Install Security Cameras

    Think of security cameras as the extra set of eyes you’ve always wanted for your home. Because many security cameras communicate with mobile applications, checking in with your home is as easy as pulling out your phone. Not to mention that many security cameras are compact and sleek enough to hide in even the tightest of spaces. This makes it easier to monitor every corner of your home. Security cameras with two-way audio let you communicate with the surroundings back home. This means you can scare off unwanted visitors or help your cousin visiting from out of town find the restroom.

    For exterior protection, look for outdoor surveillance cameras. Similar to indoor cameras, these devices are typically small enough to install in small spaces. For around-the-clock protection, look for cameras with night vision.

    Wait to Post on Social Media

    Yes, it’s tempting to document your holiday celebrations online with friends and family, but we recommend waiting until you’ve returned home to share. You never know who’s looking at your account and what their intentions may be.

    These are five fairly simple New Year’s safety tips that can simply save your life. Don’t let the dangers of New Year’s ruin your celebration. Be prepared, have a good time, and have a happy New Year’s!