Column: Staying safe this St. Patrick's Day
What do Michigan State University and St. Patrick’s Day have in common? Green, green and more green. It’s a festive time. Young adults run around MSU’s campus and the greater East Lansing area, wearing different shades of green with plastic beads dangling around their necks and the smell of booze following them. People are known for drinking all day long on St. Patrick's Day, from sunrise to sunset.
With a holiday notorious for impulsive decisions and binge drinking, problems arise, especially on college campuses. There are extra precautions you can take to stay extra safe this St. Patrick’s Day without losing any of the appeal daylong intoxication might bring.
One of the precautions you can take is planning in advance. These plans should include telling friends and family — who aren't spending the day with you — where you will be drinking, who you will be drinking with, and when you plan on returning home. When you arrive at your set location, you should have an exit plan in the back of your mind, in case of an emergency. Keep an eye out for emergency exits. Know where to go for help if it becomes necessary.
Additionally, you should have a plan for getting home safely, whether this involves having a friend who’s a designated driver, ordering a ride from Uber or Lyft, or having an emergency contact. Do not drink and drive. The statistics for drunk driving on St. Patrick’s day surpass those of most other holidays. In 2016 60 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Paddy’s Day holiday period according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Another way to stay safe on St. Patrick’s Day is to use the buddy system, especially if you are a woman. Always have a friend nearby when in an unknown location, such as a bar, party, or any sort of get-together where substances will be involved. Having a friend to watch your drinks or join you in the restroom can help to eliminate potential threats. Also, while you are not responsible for strangers, you should keep an eye out for those who appear to be in danger or in a predicament that doesn’t seem right.
You should never go to parties or bars alone. Always travel with at least one other person or a group. Walking at night, especially intoxicated, can lead to pedestrian accidents when crossing the street at lights or crosswalks. Having people to aid your decision making process will help keep you safe.
The last thing you should consider before heading out for St. Patrick’s Day is not taking valuables with you, only necessities. Carry cash rather than your credit and debit cards. Bring your cell phone with you and any other necessary belongings like medications, I.D.'s and keys. The more valuables you bring, the larger possibility there is of losing them or having them stolen. In large groups of people, especially in crowded places, it is more likely for personal objects to disappear.
St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday, even for those who aren’t even Irish. While people use it as an excuse to drink all day, it isn’t a problem as long as they take the necessary precautions to keep themselves, their friends and their families safe.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!