Articles for Non-Lawyers

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Staying Safe on New Year’s Eve by Patricia Santucci

Is New Year’s Eve the Most Dangerous Night of the Year?

New Year’s Eve is a night of celebration which often includes high spirited social gatherings. And why not – it’s the last night of the year! What many don’t realize is that safety-wise, New Year’s Eve may be the most dangerous night of the year, especially if you’re a pedestrian.

According to the journal Injury Prevention, New Year’s Eve is when people are most at risk for becoming involved in a fatal pedestrian accident. There is also a great risk of slipping and falling on New Year’s Eve (due to the sometimes dangerous combination of alcohol and slippery winter weather). Walking inside can be dangerous as well. I have had clients who have injured themselves after falling down stairs or tripping and hitting their heads. Not to mention the risk for eye injuries on New Year’s Eve from flying champagne corks!

With that in mind, we here at Santucci Law would like to offer you some tips so that you can stay safe this New Year’s Eve. Here are some things to keep in mind as you ring in the New Year:

  • If you are drinking, do so responsibly:
    If you plan to have alcohol on New Year’s Eve (of course you do!) make sure that you “take it easy” and do not drink too much. Be sure to eat throughout the night. Make sure you keep hydrated (I alternate one alcoholic drink with a glass of water). Do not believe that drinking coffee will make you “sober up”. It takes about an hour for the body to process and eradicate one serving of an alcoholic beverage. It is a good idea to have a designated chaperone that hasn’t been drinking. That way there is someone sober to keep an eye on things. And speaking of keeping an eye on things…

  • Be careful with the champagne cork:
    When opening champagne, point the bottle away from all people including yourself. Do not aim the cork directly at the ceiling, as it might ricochet and hit someone. If possible, gently remove the cork by unscrewing it slowly in a towel. Don’t shake the bottle before opening.

  • Don’t drink and walk:
    Experts say that walking drunk is one of the biggest New Year’s Eve risks. Make plans in advance of going out. Assign a designated driver. Take a cab (keep your local taxi company’s number with you). Use public transportation. Another alternative is staying over at wherever you plan to celebrate (unless it is a public place, of course).

  • Be Seen:
    If you are going to walk on New Years Eve, make sure you are wearing bright clothes so motorists can see you. Consider carrying a flash light or wearing reflective gear. It is also safer to walk in a group, as there is greater visibility in numbers. Don’t text or talk on your cell phone while walking. Give the traffic and your surroundings your full attention.

  • Make sure you phone is charged:
    Hopefully you won’t have to use it under these circumstances, but if you are in an emergency situation, it is always best to have your cell phone with you, and all charged up.

  • Friends don’t let friends drink & walk:
    It is obvious that if you are the party host, you shouldn’t let anyone who is drunk drive home, but this also applies to those who are walking. Be sure to offer non-alcoholic drinks for those who do not wish to drink (or don’t want to drink too much alcohol) or for those who are designated drivers. Consider making your party a sleepover so nobody has to walk (or drive!) home.

No one wants to start or end the year involved in any type of New Year’s mishap, but it can happen. I hope you have a fun SAFE New Year’s. If the unthinkable happens and you do get into an accident of any kind, we are here to help. Santucci Law will be your bridge over troubled waters.

Happy New Year’s Everyone! Wishing you a joyful, prosperous, healthy and SAFE 2015.

About the Author Patricia Santucci

Patricia Santucci is a personal injury lawyer born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She holds several degrees having attended King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, McMaster University, earned a Master of Arts degree at the University of Windsor and an Ontario Teaching Degree from Teacher’s College as well as her Ontario Teaching Certificate. After graduating from the University of Alberta law school she was called to the bar in 2000. You can find Patricia on and LinkedIn or directly through this website