Be Safe: Have fun, but use common sense

This evening brings for many an excuse to let loose a little, have a couple of drinks. There is nothing wrong with that, for responsible adults of legal age who have taken the proper precautions. But too many fail to behave responsibly as they engage in New Year’s Eve revelry. Nearly 50 percent of highway deaths on New Year’s Eve (and into the wee small hours of New Year’s Day) are alcohol-related, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

If you choose to drink as you celebrate this evening, plan in advance how you will get home, or where you will sleep. (Hosts, be gracious to those seeking an extra bed or couch at the end of the party, rather than driving home.)

If there is a willing designated driver among the celebrants, be respectful to that person — do not leave them wishing they had not volunteered, as they clean out their car the next day. Even if you have chosen a designated driver, it is no excuse to over-indulge to the point of being a burden to the folks around you.

If no designated driver is available, choose a cab, a ride-share, public transportation or, again, stay put.

But bear in mind the warning from AAA East Central that even the next morning, driving with a hangover can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. It may still be necessary to arrange transportation the morning after.

Meanwhile, if you suspect a fellow reveler has had too much to drink as he or she begins searching for car keys, take a stand and do what you can to keep that person from getting on the road.

Enjoy yourselves this evening, folks. Have fun, prepare for a fresh start and a bright new year; and plan to do so in a way that does not leave you — or your loved ones — facing 2018 with nothing but regret.