Create A Plan for A Safe Night Out
Heading out with friends for the night? Make a plan before you head out the door to increase the likelihood that you and your friends have a great time and make it home safely. Most college students are taking time to be sure they have a plan to get home safe each time!
Before You Leave
- Decide now whether or not you are going to drink. Remember, if you are under 21 it is illegal in all 50 states to possess or consume alcohol.
- If you choose to drink, set a lower-risk limit for the night (4 or fewer drinks for a male and 3 or fewer drinks for a female).
- 0 drinks if you are underage, pregnant, driving, or on medication
- 1 one drink per hour (1 drink – 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine, or 1.5 oz liquor (80-proof)
- 1-2 drinking no more than 1-2 times per week
- 3-4 total number of drinks on any one occasion
- Let your friends know of your decision and respect their decisions to not drink or to drink at a lower-risk level.
- Eat! That’s right – put some food in your stomach so you feel energetic for the night! (The food also slows the absorption rate of alcohol.)
- Designate a sober driver.This person does not drink any alcohol beverages or use other substances that can impair their ability to drive safely. Here is an easy pledge to make the commitment to not drink and drive and to not ride with a driver who has been drinking.
- Pack money in a side pocket for a cab – just in case!
- Pre-program your cell phone with at least 2-3 numbers for a safe ride home. These could be for a friend who will be sober that night, a local cab company, and/or your campus safe ride program.
While You’re Out
- Have fun! Smile, say hi to new people, and always keep a check on your friends.
- Stick to your decisions and limits with regard to drinking.
- Periodically, find your friends to be sure everyone is safe and no one has disappeared or left with someone they did not intend to leave with or do not know.
- Grab some snacks and be sure to drink water, juice, or soda. It is important to stay energized with snacks and stay hydrated with non-alcohol beverages.
- Keep a watch on your drink and never take a drink you did not pour yourself or see a bartender make. If you leave your drink unattended, just get a new one!
- If you see someone who is not doing well or passed out, check in on the person for signs of alcohol poisoning (see “Signs & Symptoms” below). Not sure? Call for help (911) – and stay with the person until help arrives.
- Feeling pressured to drink? Fill up your cup or an empty beer bottle with water, juice or soda.
- Avoid drinking games. This strategy will help you stick to your plan and help you remember the good times throughout the night!
- When you decide to head home, be sure to gather your group of friends and be sure your designated driver is sober (nothing to drink!).
- If you need an alternative safe and sober ride home, pull out those numbers you pre-programmed into your cell phone!
- If a friend has been drinking and you are concerned, stay with your friend through the night (never let someone “just sleep it off”!). Call for help (911) if you are concerned about alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol Poisoning: Signs, Symptoms & What To Do
Friends take care of friends which is why we encourage you to check for these signs and symptoms that someone may be suffering from alcohol poisoning:
- Person is known to have consumed large quantities of alcohol
- Person is unconscious and cannot be awakened
- Person has cold, clammy, unusually pale or bluish skin
- Person is breathing slowly or irregularly, less than 8 times a minute or 10 seconds or more between breaths
- Person vomits while passed out and does not wake up during or after
If you think someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, call for help (RA or 911) and never leave the person alone. The most important thing you can do is to stay with the person.
If your friend is vomiting and passed out, consider using the BACCHUS Maneuver. Students from Frostburg State University created a brief video to show you how!
Stand by your decision. Stand up for your friendship. You are always doing the right thing by getting help.
Curious About Most Students?
Time and time again, the students say they want to have fun when they go and they want to get home safely! A Fall 2010 survey of over 30,000 students nationally found the following:
- 75.6% of college students report NOT driving after drinking any alcohol, in the last 30 days. *
- 67.4% of college students report NOT drinking or drinking fewer than five drinks in a sitting in the past two weeks.
- 76.6% of college students report eating before and/or during drinking.
- 83.6% of college students report staying with the same group of friends the entire time drinking.
- 83.2% of college students report using a designated driver.
65.9% of college students report keeping track of how many drinks they are consuming.
Want to Do More?
Some students want to increase the resources on their campus to stay safe. If you would like to create a safe ride program for your campus, the following guide and resources can help you get started.