When I was about 17 and starting to take an interest (prematurely) in alcohol, my uncle Dennis told me, ‘Dan, never get so drunk that you can’t defend yourself.’ Wise words from Uncle Den.
But even if you don’t drink, it’s still important to protect yourself and get home safely from a night out.
Here are six ways to look after yourself and your friends.
You’re more likely to get into trouble if you wander off from your group. Always stay together. The alcohol education charity Drinkaware recommends having a Whatsapp group for the night.
If anybody does get separated or in trouble, they can message or call for help. It’s good advice. And you can always mute or delete the group in the morning.
Did you see your drink being poured or opened? If the answer’s no, don’t drink it. Have you left your drink unattended? If the answer’s yes, don’t drink it.
Spiking is when somebody puts drugs or alcohol in your drink without your knowledge. Symptoms include confusion, loss of coordination and slurred speech. Always keep your drink with you.
Alcohol can affect your decision-making. Alternating your alcoholic drinks with water will keep you hydrated and slow down your alcohol intake, helping you stay in control.
Any bar, club, or restaurant that serves alcohol has to give you free tap water by law. Ask for water and sip it throughout the night.
READ ALSO: Seven ways to stay safe on a night out
Never leave your phone, bag, or anything else of value on a table or chair. If you need to withdraw cash during the night, go with a friend and put the money away immediately.
On your way home, always keep your phone out of sight. This also goes for anything else that somebody might want to steal - jewellery, headphones, watches.
Save the numbers of a couple of reputable local taxi firms in your phone. Never get into a taxi if you haven’t:
If you haven’t got the money for a safe taxi home, most universities operate a safe taxi scheme. You call the firm they use, get a lift home, and pay for it the next day.
READ MORE: How to get a safe taxi home in the UK
If you have to walk home, don’t go alone. Leave with your friends and walk home together. Stick to well-lit roads where there are other people and CCTV, even if it makes the walk slightly longer.
Always walk so that you’re facing the oncoming traffic. Stay aware of your surroundings, and never listen to music or use your phone on the way home - both things will distract you.