It’s inevitable that at some point in your uni experience, you’ll go out with friends. A night out should be a time for fun, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. We don’t want to be a downer, but we do want to give you some key safety tips to make sure you keep the good times rolling at uni. Taking small precautions can make the difference between the best night out and the worst night of your life. So be smart, be responsible, use the following steps to be safe—and enjoy some brilliant nights out with your mates!
Plan Your Ride Home Before You Leave
You may not be able to schedule a taxi or rideshare ahead of time, but you can decide in advance how you’ll get home. If there’s a designated driver in the group, that’s always the safest option, but also be sure to have a backup plan. If you choose to take a taxi, scheduling it before you go out is ideal. If you can’t do this, make sure the ride you do get at the end of the evening is legitimate. For taxis, look for an official logo or license of the driver posted in the car. If you use Uber, take the extra step to ask the driver to give you the name of the person they’re picking up before you get in the car.
If you make a plan before you go out, it can be one less thing to worry about, and you can focus on having fun!
Always Have A Buddy
Just as mum always says—safety in numbers! When headed out, especially to a new spot, try to take a group of your mates. That way, you can keep an eye out for each other, and you’re less likely to be a target of unwanted approaches. Even within a group, make sure you have one friend that you designate to be with you (or keep an eye on you) throughout the evening—and you do the same for them. Because we all know that the group can scatter once you get to a party or pub!
Never Put Your Drink Down
Everyone thinks that it could never happen to them, but drink spiking, and unfortunately, date rape, is still a very common crime. Someone can easily put something in your drink in a crowded space without you even noticing. To counteract this, only drink beverages that you watch a bartender/server pour or open. Ladies and gents, we know its tempting to have someone buy you a drink, especially when you’re new at uni, but just go with them to the bar to be safe.
You also want to keep your drink with you at all times. If it’s ever out of your sight or you put it down, throw it out and get another. (Trust us, its worth the extra five quid to keep it safe!) If you do start to feel sick, fuzzy, or like you’ve had more to drink than you did, that could be potential signs of a spiked drink. Here’s where having a buddy system comes in handy, keep an eye on your mates to make sure they don’t seem out of it. If you or a friend ever do feel weird, tell someone else and try to get home as soon as possible.
Stay Connected With Others
Stay in contact with both the mates you’re out with and even those at home. For example, if you do go on a date with someone new, or out by yourself—tell someone else where you plan to go.
We’re in the digital age, so use technology to your advantage! Set up a group chat using an app like WhatsApp to stay in touch with your besties. This will also help you contact people in your group quickly if you get separated. The “Find My Friends” function on your mobile is another great tool. Share your location with friends or roommates so they can see you on a map. Then if you get separated or accidentally get into a car with someone you shouldn’t, you’ll have several people that can see your location just by looking at their phone.
Don’t Carry a Lot of Cash or Valuables
We all want to ball out at the club, we know we know. But advertising to everyone around you that you have cash in your wallet or flashing your most expensive jewellery can be asking for trouble. Carry only your I.D. and the money or cards that you need that night. For jewellery, opt for low-key options, something you wouldn’t cry over if it were lost or taken. Ladies—find a cute small purse, and remember that cross-shoulder bags are both functional and hard to grab in muggings.
Before a big night out always have a proper meal to make sure the alcohol doesn’t hit you on an empty stomach. Drinking without eating is irresponsible and frankly a recipe for disaster. Also, try to alternate your drinks with glasses of water in between to keep hydrated. This will let you moderate your alcohol intake, stay level headed, and best of all—avoid the dreaded hangover.
If you need more of a refresher on drinking responsibly, use this list as a guide.
Have a blast, but stay safe!
Going out, enjoying the nightlife, and meeting new people are some of the best parts of uni life. But you also need to play it safe and be mindful of your surroundings to ensure nothing bad happens to you or your mates.