Stay Safe: Tips For A Safe New Year’s

By Nikki Garrett Metzger

Managing Editor

(Victor Valley) – Every year as the New Year’s Eve holiday rolls around, law enforcement agencies put out their list of safety tips to help keep the roadways safe and to help ensure an enjoyable holiday for everyone. You would think that at this point, we ALL know what to do and what not to do. However, every year the statistics show that not everyone is getting that message.

So, to help spread the word here are some of the most important things you can do to have a safe New Year’s Eve holiday:

ñ Designate non-drinking drivers who can get everyone home safely;

ñ Call a friend or family member for a ride home if you’ve been drinking;

ñ Keep a taxicab company telephone number in your wallet so you can call for a ride home;

ñ Take car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink;

ñ If hosting a party, offer non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of food. The responsibility of a safe party lies with the host;

ñ Always drive defensively, being alert for other drivers;

ñ Obey the speed limits and always wear your seatbelt.

Karen Hunt with the Victorville Police Station elaborated “One of the biggest concerns we have over the New Year holiday is when people are drinking and then decide to drive. So all of the law enforcement agencies certainly encourage people to make sure they have a designated driver or make other arrangements so that they don’t have to get behind the wheel.”

You can expect that there will be DUI checkpoints all over the valley over the long holiday weekend. If you are out on the roadway and see someone driving erratically, Hunt urges you to call 911. “You can do that from a cell phone for emergency purposes. And give as much information as you can, like the license plate, without being distracted from your own driving.”

Drunk driving is not the only danger over the holiday. New Year’s Eve is a great time to let loose and have fun, but unfortunately, criminals are out there waiting for an opportunity to take advantage. Hunt suggests going out with a group because, as the old saying goes, there is safety in numbers.

“A lot of times if people are drinking their awareness of what is going on around them may not be at the level it would normally be. We just want them to be mindful of what is going on around them. Travel with friends. If you are out and about by yourself that gives someone the opportunity to chose you as a target for a crime.”

Here are a few more personal safety tips from StreetSafe, a subscription-based personal security provider.:

ñ Don’t let your guard down. Holidays, especially New Year’s Eve, are not an excuse to throw caution to the wind. Be careful not to leave your drink unattended and don’t become intoxicated.

ñ Select a place to meet should you get separated from your group, and check that your everyonr got home safely at the end of the night.

ñ Have a plan for how you will get home. Don’t find yourself stranded.

ñ Don’t use the festive atmosphere as an excuse to do something you wouldn’t normally do or put yourself in an unsafe situation.

ñ While out, be careful what you post online. Don’t alert others that you are not at home.

A traditional, albeit illegal part of some New Year’s celebrations is the firing of fireworks or firearms at the stroke of midnight. Hunt says, “It is illegal in our city, and most of the cities up here have banned fireworks.”

The danger with shooting a gun into the air is that the bullet eventually comes down, at the same high rate of speed that it went up, and it can strike a person or pet, injuring or killing them. It can also damage someone’s property.

“Staying indoors is a good idea. Keeping your pets indoors is also a good idea,” said Hunt. “A lot of times animals are spooked by fireworks, and they may get out and run away.”

Animals that are frightened by loud noises like fireworks or gunshots may be running lose on the road, and can be a danger to drivers, Hunt explained. “So be mindful of animals that might be in the road. Not only do you not want to harm the animal, but the damage it does to your vehicle is not a pleasant experience”

Hunt wrapped up by saying, “Hopefully by doing all of those things everyone will have a safe and Happy New Year’s holiday!”

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