Winter is coming! No this is not Game of Thrones, it is the Defence Lab brief guide to keeping safe when out and about this winter.
As is normal for this time of year the weather gets colder and the nights get longer. With Christmas and New Year ahead, celebrations are a plenty, and we all eat and drink too much.
Nothing wrong with that, however sometimes people take chances with their safety and this short guide is designed just to nudge your decision making in the right direction.
1. Plan To Get Drunk
I have heard it more times than I recall; “I never meant to get that drunk”. Sadly (and this includes me) we often underestimate just how much we are drinking. There is nothing wrong in being drunk as long as you can look after yourself and know your limits. Here are some handy tips.
It happens. You are dancing and all of a sudden an attractive stranger chats you up and asks to buy you a drink (Ok, it has never happened to me but you get the point). There is nothing wrong with this but make sure you go to a section of the bar or club you can see your friends. Pick up artists will try and isolate you. If he is a decent guy, he will be happy to talk to you wherever you are.
The One- Two Soft Drink Rule
This one is simple. After every alcoholic drink make sure you have a soft drink. It’s not boring, just look for the non-alcoholic cocktails or tell your friends it is a vodka and coke.
Don’t Drink Before You Go Out
Do you like a glass of wine or two before you go out to get you in the mood for the night? Don’t! By the time you end up out, you will be well on your way to being drunk. It can be expensive to go out these days. However, this is about safety and not wallet size. By cutting out the drinks you have before you go out, you will find yourself a lot less hungover the next day.
2. Do Not Walk Home
One of the biggest mistakes people make is deciding to save themselves a few quid at the end of the night and walk home. Trust me it is a bad idea. Not only could you stagger into a road, get attacked or just fall over. You could end up making the terrible decision to sleep. Yes, this happens! It gets very cold, and people sit down to have a rest and then the cold kicks in, and people have died. The links below are tragic stories that highlight this risk
This is simple and in my experience it is key for a far safer, cheaper and more fun night out. If you decide before you go out that you will stick to one or 2 venues, and that’s all, your night out will be more fun. You will stand in fewer queues, spend less on drinks and getting into venues and this also helps to plan that all important taxi journey home because you can be picked up bang on closing time!!
4. Watch Your Drinks and Your Bags
Believe it or not bags, phones and even house keys go missing on nights out. So many women leave their bags on the floor or a chair and go dancing yet inside are £300 smartphones. I always say to people “would you leave your bag if it had £300 cash inside?” Most say no straight away but then they would leave their phone.
Take your bag with you wherever you go because if you lose it then what can happen is a downhill spiral. Lose your bag and you have no phone or money and unless your friends can lend you some you will be walking home!
Your Drinks are a similar issue. It is very rare to have your drinks spiked, but it does happen. Check out the link below. However just because a person does not spike a drink with a drug, it does not mean you cannot have your drinks fuelled with extra alcohol. After all how easy would it be to slip a few shots into our drink without you knowing? Keep an eye on your drinks at all times. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-32535496
5. Get The MP4 Player Out of Your Ears!
This is a major issue. How many times each day do you see someone with their earphones in and walking along? Not too much of an issue in the day when it is busy. But at night when walking alone? This is a simple no. Just because you can do this doesn’t mean you should. You have no idea is someone is following you, walking behind you or anything else.
6. Pay For A Decent Car Park
This is one for those of you late night shopping. You go out and spend hundreds of pounds on presents, spend £10 on coffees at Starbucks but then get tight fisted on a car park!!! There are some very good and well-lit car parks out there so here are some tips.
When you park up in daylight, give thought to what the place will be like at night. Is there lighting? Is it far from town? Will the streets around here be busy when I come back to the car. To avoid this check out this site (UK only) http://www.parkmark.co.uk/. Find a car park in the location you are shopping and park there. It is a huge scheme in the UK where safe car parking is promoted with excellent venues.
7. Be Among Others
Perhaps the most basic tip, but so many forget it. One of the best ways to stay safe is to make sure you are with other people. There is safety in numbers. So make sure you get a taxi with a friend, make sure you meet your friends at a house before traveling out. At the end of the night stay over at a friends house rather than get a taxi on your own. Going shopping? Take a friend.
The idea is that you have fun at this time of the year, not stop doing the things you love but with just a few adjustments you can dramatically increase your safety.