Going out? Here are 7 ways to stay safe and in control

01 Oct 2019
By Tom S., Student at Sheffield Hallam University

For me, the best part about starting uni was getting to meet new people. In fact, some of my favourite memories are of getting to know my flatmates over a drink.

But while it’s important to have fun and make new friends when you’re out, it’s just as important to stay safe.

Here are the seven steps to keeping yourself and your mates safe when you're out.

1) Eat something

You can start looking after yourself long before you actually leave your flat. Having some dinner before you start drinking will line your stomach and mean that alcohol takes longer to absorb. This means you won’t get as drunk so quickly and you’ll last longer into the night.

The best things you can eat to slow alcohol absorption are high in proteins and fats. Fruits and vegetables are also really good as, not only are they nutritious, they’re full of water which will help you stay hydrated throughout the night.

2) Don’t rush

Be sure to pace yourself once you’ve started drinking. Pre-drinks for me is the best part of the night, but you might not notice the effects of these until much later - so don’t overdo it. Many times I’ve felt sober(ish) when leaving the house, but by the time I’ve got into town the booze has hit me.

3) Find your own level

Alcohol affects women much quicker than men – so make sure to know your own limits. Your friend might be able to drink twice as much as you and still feel fine, so don’t try and keep up with somebody if you can’t handle it.

Also, having a glass of water between every two or three drinks will steady the flow of alcohol, meaning you won’t get too drunk and you won’t feel as worse for wear in the morning.

Read more: Hydration: Are you drinking enough water?

4) Follow the guidance on Covid-19

I know everything looks a little different this year because of Covid-19, but it's still possible to have a good time. Just make sure you follow the rules where you are. Ignoring them will put the health of you and others at risk.

The key guidance relates to how many people you can meet with and from how many different households you can mix with. Find out the relevant guidance for you via the links below:

And remember, the police can now fine people up to £10,000 for hosting or attending parties.

5) Keep your drink close

Never leave your drinks unattended while you’re out. Sure, most people will be there to have a good time like you, but there are a few idiots who might be looking for drinks to spike.

You don’t want this to happen to you, so always keep your drink with you. If you’ve left it unattended for a while, don’t drink it again – you might have wasted a few quid but that’s a small price to pay compared to getting spiked.

6) Stay together

Look out for each other. If one of your friends is drunk, don’t leave them on their own no matter how annoying it may be. You’d want them to do the same if it was you. If they’re falling asleep, make sure they’re laying on their side, not on their back. This will mean that if they’re sick they won’t block their airway.

7) Hydrate, feel great

Once you’re home, drink a pint of water before you go to bed. This will keep you hydrated and ensure that the hangover the next day isn’t as bad. Also, leave a glass of water next to your bed for the morning. Sober you will be grateful for it in the morning, trust me.

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Tom is a Geography student at Sheffield Hallam, and is currently on a placement year.