18 August 2014
Who doesn’t love going out? This could be house parties or club nights, concerts or festivals – we all like our freedom. But whether you’re going on a night out or to a party, there are lots of potential problems you could run into.
To prevent a great night out turning into a nightmare, it’s important that you take a few simple precautions.
You should always eat before you leave home, especially if you might be drinking. A full stomach will mean that the alcohol will be absorbed more slowly, which means that you’ll be able to stay more in control. If you do decide to drink, try to do so in moderation.
Just because there are drugs and alcohol at an event, doesn’t mean you need to take them. They’re not the only way to have fun, and these substances can make you lose control, which will make you more vulnerable and could put you at risk. You might start behaving in a way that you wouldn’t usually, for example getting in fights and losing inhibitions. Illegal drugs aren’t regulated, which means they could be anything; there’s no way of knowing exactly what it is you’re putting in your body. Drugs shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol either, as this can cause unexpected reactions.
This can also be an issue if you leave your drink unattended or you accept a drink which you haven’t seen being made. Drink spiking is a very real problem, and while you won’t necessarily be assaulted, there’s no way of knowing how you’ll react.
Never get in a car with someone who’s been drinking or who has taken any drugs, even if they claim to be okay to drive.
There are lots of services available if you find yourself in trouble on a night out. Make sure you have a well charged phone on you in case you need to make an emergency call (999), or get in touch with friends or family.
Drugs and alcohol, exhaustion or a medical condition can all cause problems. If something has happened to one of your friends and they are is unconscious or aren’t breathing, make sure you stay with them whilst using your phone to call for an ambulance, and the police if necessary. The emergency services will be able to talk you through basic care until paramedics can get there.
Getting picked up by parents or taking a regulated taxi with friends are probably the safest options for getting home after a night out. Book in advance from a company you know and trust, or go to a taxi rank rather than jumping in with strangers. An advantage of booking your cab in advance is that you will know how much it will cost so you can make sure you have enough, and you also know that there will be someone to pick you up when you want there to be.
If you decide to walk home or get public transport, try and stay aware of what’s going on around you. If you fall asleep on public transport or listen to loud music then you’re putting yourself into a vulnerable position. You won’t know if someone is following you, and by using an iPod or other MP3 player then you’re also showing potential thieves that you have something worth stealing.
Whenever possible, make sure you walk home with a friend, or a group. You’re much less likely to be singled out if you’re with others. Stay on well-lit roads which are relatively busy and let someone know you’re walking home.
You could even consider carrying a personal alarm. These emit a high pitch sound which will shock anyone who’s attacking you – they’re available from lots of high street shops or online and are very reasonably priced.
Remember that the more informed you are, the safer you and your friends are. You can’t necessarily predict how other people will behave, but you can prepare yourself to the best of your ability. If you’re worried about anything that has happened on a night out, speak to us on our chat facility (located at the bottom on this page), or free phone us on 0808 800 1037.