If you or someone you love are planning a wild night of partying, you may be worried about getting home safely afterwards. I applaud you for your wisdom. Because many traffic accidents, theft and other forms of crime happen in this scenario.
A person gets drunk, gets behind the wheel or tries to stumble back home. They get in a car accident, they get robbed, beaten up, fall down or fall asleep in extreme cold conditions.
These are the top 10 safety tips for getting home safely that you can use and share with someone you care for.
1. Call a taxi or an Uber
This is arguably the safest way to get home after a night out. Especially if you’re intoxicated. Call a reputable taxi service or an Uber driver with great reviews in your area.
If you don’t have the money for it, ask someone you’re comfortable with if they’d like to share the ride if it’s on their way. That way you can split the bill.
If taxi and Uber are not an option, public transit is the next option to consider. But I can’t say whether the public transit in your area is safe or not. Taking the subway at night in NYC is not my idea of a good time. You’re as likely to get robbed or beaten up there as you are on the street.
So make sure that whichever form of transportation you’re using is safer and more reliable than walking or driving yourself.
2. Install the GetHomeSafe app
I love this app, and I’ve used it plenty of times when I was out and about in foreign countries. It has really useful free features, most notably:
• GPS tracking
• Record notes along the way
• Remaining battery life included in alerts
• Unlimited number of emergency contacts
• Instant panic alerts, with location
• Duress PIN protection
• Coverage prediction
• Interactive maps
• Intended destination
• Share “I am Home Safe” status via social media or email
• View and share “Trip Summaries” with Maps, total time, distance and average speed
• Live distance and average speed tracking within the app
There are also a few premium features, which I personally didn’t use:
• SMS alerts
• Reminders to check-in
• SMS live tracking invites
It’s a really good app if you’re feeling disoriented thanks to the GPS tracking with “intended destination”. Thankfully I didn’t have to use the “instant panic alerts with location” feature but I can imagine that it would be quite useful in case someone threatened me on the street or I got in an accident. So the GetHomeSafe app is one of my favorite safety apps. Especially for travelers, both for getting home safely after a night out and exploration of new areas in general.
3. Avoid driving intoxicated
Seems like a real no brainer, and yet thousands of traffic accidents are caused by drivers who got drunk or used other intoxicating, mind-altering substances before hitting the gas pedal.
If you’re feeling a little tipsy after a night out, you might feel like you could drive more slowly than usual and end up home in one piece. But most people get it wrong. It’s hard to predict how you’ll feel in the driver’s seat until you’re already speeding down the road and drifting between (or over) pedestrians.
Falling asleep is another problem after a night out. I suggest going out on foot, using public transit or riding a bicycle to avoid the temptation of driving a car or motorcycle entirely. Also, you’ll have more fun as you’ll be able to drink without having to worry about driving.
3. Never get in the car of a drunk driver
This is where peer pressure plays a huge role. The group is going somewhere and that cute guy or girl is in the driver’s seat. You don’t want to be the coward or the responsible prune in the group. So you follow the group.
The only advice I can give in this instance is to raise your self-confidence and avoid being a sheep. If they want to risk their lives to reach some silly night club it’s their choice. Create high standards for yourself as a person and you’ll see this type of behavior for what it actually is: plain stupid and easily avoidable.
5. Carry a self defense weapon
I feel strongly about carrying a self-defense weapon when going out. It can be a life saver in case of physical assault on the street, in the public transit or any other location for that matter.
Which self-defense is the best fit for you depends on three factors: your preference, the ease of carry and the laws in your state. Obviously, a firearm can be very effective. But using one often comes with legal implications, even if used for self defense. Also, some places allow the usage and carrying of firearms to different degrees, while others don’t allow them at all. You should definitely check your state laws in regards to this issue.
When it comes to non-firearm options there are many valuable devices. Every self defense expert will agree that a pepper spray works best for most people. It’s small, affordable and effective. It can be easily held in a pocket so it’s easy to reach.
This popular pepper spray from Amazon can even be placed on a keychain and it provides an impressive 10 ft range.
Pepper spraying will immobilize the attacker by painfully blinding them for minutes at a time. This will provide enough time for escape, which should be the main goal in every self defense situation.
Another convenient weapon is an electric shocker, also known as a stun gun. There are pocket-sized and bigger ones. I recommend getting one that you can fit in your pocket or a purse. I recommend the Sabre 3-in-1 Stun Gun which has three useful features: electric shocker, 70 Lumen LED flashlight and a 115 dB alarm. And it’s under $20!
Keep in mind that the effectiveness of a shocker, especially smaller ones, depends on the amount of clothing between the device and skin. So in winter conditions, a pepper spray is often the better choice, while in warmer temperatures both are solid options.
6. Avoid desolate and dark walking areas
You might be tempted to take a shortcut on your way home. If you’re walking or driving a bike, this could be a desolate park, playground or a shady neighborhood that is known for higher levels of crime.
Drug dealers and robbers will sometimes frequent these areas, making deals or waiting for drunk people and unaware young couples looking for privacy.
It’s best to avoid this sort of company altogether. Take the main streets, stay in light and avoid areas where you could get jumped by someone standing in the shadow.
7. Ask a trustworthy driver for a ride home
One way to have a trustworthy driver is to have a friend that doesn’t drink! Or you can take turns as far as driving obligations are concerned.
8. Sober up before going home
Even walking is not safe when you’re too drunk. The fastest way to sober up is to drink a lot of water and to eat something. Preferably a type of food that has all three major ingredients: protein, carbs and fats.
This could be a pizza, a hamburger or a chicken sandwich if you’re worried about the calories. The point is to get some heavier food into your system to ground yourself psychologically, which will help you get home safely even if you’re still tired or a bit tipsy.
9. Be careful about one night stands
Getting home safely is not the only think to worry about. It’s also WHO you go home with. Be careful about one night flings. They can be disastrous if the other person is too drunk.
There are two bad scenarios that can happen: 1. The other person could get violent and sexually assault you. 2. They might claim that you assaulted them after they sober up.
This doesn’t have to be true at all and you could still get into trouble. They could accuse you because they feel guilty about cheating on their significant other, because they actually have false memory of what happened or a number of other reasons.
Some college campuses even require that both parties sign a paper before engaging in sexual intercourse because of too many false accusations. If you’re a freshman, see if there are any such rules and customs on your campus.
The same is true if you’re traveling to an exotic location abroad. Not all cultures are equally okay with one night stands. More extreme Muslim countries forbid women from engaging in sexual relations until marriage.
If you bring a Muslim girl in Pakistan back home, both of you could be in serious danger if her family finds out about this. In that situation, getting home safely will entail getting back to your country of origin in one piece, not just walking a few blocks to your apartment.
10. Tell your roommates or parents when you’ll be back
Perhaps you don’t feel obligated to tell anyone your whereabouts and when you’ll get back. But from a safety perspective it can mean a lot. If you don’t come back within a certain time frame, people will get suspicious that something bad has happened.
They’ll likely give you a call, and if you don’t answer, they’ll call your friends or the authorities. In case of a kidnapping, car accidents and medical emergencies having someone respond quickly like that can save your life.
Unfortunately, if you live alone this isn’t as good of an option. Although you could certainly agree to send a message or call when and if you come home. If you don’t call or send a message, the person will know that something has happened and should respond adequately.
11. Carry a mobile phone with emergency dial
What if someone threatens you on the street as you’re going back home? There are many ways to respond, depending on the situation. Running away, using a pepper spray or a shocker or trying to calm down the person. It can also be useful to have these numbers on quick dial:
- Local police department
- Local fire department
- Local hospital
- Personal emergency contact list
Keep in mind that 911 is the official number for emergency calls in the US. But the other numbers can also be helpful in some situations so it’s good to have them at hand.
12. Travel in a group
Go out with trustworthy friends, colleagues or a love interest instead of alone. Most thieves and violent gangs will target people walking alone, rather than engaging with a group that can pose a threat.
13. Plan your route with Google Maps
Luckily many night clubs and bars can be searched online, along with reviews from others. Google Maps’ street view feature can be helpful for familiarizing with the surrounding environment, along with the route you’d prefer to take to reach your location and return home.
Aside from Google Maps, the GetHomeSafe app that I mentioned before can also be helpful in setting up a route along with GPS tracking, instant panic alerts and other features.
14. Dress adequately
I don’t want to sound like your mother. But if it’s cold outside, make sure to wear warm clothes. If you fall asleep on the doorstep because you were drunk or you have an accident in the middle of nowhere, or perhaps get caught in a blizzard, you could receive serious, potentially deadly or crippling injuries.
Many girls are going out poorly dressed while it’s freezing outside. This has drawn major concern because there have been cases of amputations because of it. Don’t believe me? This video is the best advertisement for winter gloves that I’ve ever seen:
Final Word on Getting Home Safely
If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re worried about yourself or another person you care about getting home safely after a night out. There are many dangers to consider:
- violent gangs and thieves
- predators such as rapists and human traffickers
- drunk driving and traffic accidents
- long exposure to cold temperatures
- false physical attack and rape accusations
- not understanding the laws and customs of the area
..and many more. But these are the main dangers to take into consideration. If you follow the 14 tips explained in this article, getting home safely will be far easier to achieve. Hope this helps!