Another year is almost over. It goes by fast, doesn’t it? If you are like many people this holiday weekend, you will be celebrating with friends and family as the clock strikes midnight. Watching the ball drop on Time’s Square is a tradition held tight by millions of people in the country.
Partying on New Year’s Eve is something we plan for, but perhaps not in the right way. We decide what food we will serve or eat. We choose just the right adult beverages. We even pick out our entertainment. What many of us don’t plan for are injuries. If you’re going to be ringing in the New Year this holiday weekend, it’s up to you to do so responsibly. Here are some tips to consider.
Do you know how to serve food the right way? Of course I do, you are saying to yourself. You may find it surprising that you actually don’t. Most people don’t give it a thought beyond putting food on a tray and setting it on a table.
If you don’t serve food properly, you are putting your guests at risk of food poisoning and illness. Hot foods need to be maintained at a specific temperature to be safe, as do cold foods. If you are serving anything hot, make sure it is kept warm either on a warming tray or in a slow cooker. If you are setting out cold foods, put them on a bed of ice. Doing these things will keep foods at their proper temperature and inhibit bacteria growth.
Most people aren’t aware that they can be held responsible if they serve alcohol and a guest leaves their home and causes an accident. If you are going to be serving alcohol, make sure you are also serving plenty of food. If your friends or family have traveled a decent distance to attend your gathering, give them a pillow and blanket at the end of the night and direct them to the guest room or couch.
If you don’t want people crashing at your place, provide a sober ride home. Either call a taxi for your intoxicated friends, summon an Uber or take them home yourself. You can drive your friend’s car back to their house and have someone sober follow you so you have a ride back home.
For whatever reason, some people have started a tradition of welcoming in the New Year with gunfire. People point guns up into the air and fire off a round. Consider the fact that if a bullet travels up into the air, it will turn and drop back to the ground. A bullet can travel up to 2 miles into the night sky and reach speeds of more than 500 feet per second as it travels back to the ground. This, according to police, is a speed that is capable of killing someone should the bullet strike a person. Skip the gunfire.
If you’re going to blast off fireworks at midnight, first make sure it is legal to do so where you live. Secondly, leave the big pyrotechnics to the professionals. If you want to blow off fireworks, stick with the small kind you can buy at the store. Sparklers and bottle rockets are safe enough when handled properly. No matter what you choose to buy, don’t put fireworks in the hands of children. Lastly, if you do decide to shoot off fireworks outside, make sure you have a few buckets of water handy.
You know that you shouldn’t drink and drive, and you won’t, but you can’t control the behaviors of everyone else. Keep in mind that the most dangerous time on the road is often right after midnight when people are heading home. Stay at the party a bit later or leave a bit sooner. If you are going to be driving directly after midnight, keep your eyes wide open and your attention focused on the road.
While you are driving, look for other drivers that may be behaving erratically. Drivers that can’t seem to maintain a straight line or stay in their lane may be intoxicated. If you see someone driving in a way that appears less than safe, maintain your distance. If someone is obviously intoxicated, have your passenger call emergency services.
No one wants to spend the first days of the New Year in the hospital dealing with injuries or in jail for making a poor choice. If you do happen to be involved in a car accident in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, call our office to schedule a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options. We are here for you and your family.