Ring in the New Year safely with these tips from local police

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Fireworks light up the sky during New Year’s celebrations in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

It’s almost time to celebrate the new year, and if you’re like most people, you don’t want to start 2020 as a statistic.

Here are some tips from Madison and Decatur police on being safe this New Year’s Eve:

  • Never drink and drive. With options like Uber and Lyft, and free rides from AAA and Driver Safety Taxi and Tow Service, there’s never an excuse to drive home under the influence. If you see what you believe to be an impaired driver, call 911. Be prepared to give the location, vehicle description, driver description if possible, and direction of travel for the suspected vehicle.
  • Plan when to be on the road. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, accidents involving alcohol are more likely to occur between midnight and 3:00 a.m. Avoid the roads during these times by staying with a friend or hosting your party in a safe place that requires minimal transportation.
  • Watch the crowd. If you decide to celebrate with a large group, be aware of your surroundings. If someone is acting unusually, give them plenty of space or leave the premises. If you see something suspicious or dangerous, remember to “See Something, Say Something” and call 911.
  • Don’t forget your common sense. Don’t leave your drink unattended. If you’re out with friends, check in with and look out for each other. Don’t let friends drive drunk.
  • Let someone know where you are and check in regularly. Leave your itinerary with a trusted, sober person and stick to it. If your plans change, let them know.

RELATED: Huntsville Police DUI patrols on New Year’s Eve

  • Keep in touch. Charge your phone before going out and keep identification on you at all times.
  • Remember firework regulations. There are plenty of places to safely view fireworks around the Tennessee Valley. Most cities, including Huntsville, Madison, Decatur, and Athens do not allow fireworks in the city limits.
  • Remember gun regulations, too. Like fireworks, discharging guns is illegal within city limits. Make sure any guns you own are locked and in a secure place.
  • Protect your pets. The loud noises of music, guests, and fireworks on New Year’s may scare your pets. Keep gates and doors are closed and locked. Secure your pets in a comfortable room with a low-volume TV or radio once the evening begins to keep them safe and calm and make sure they have tags to ID them, just in case.
  • Hosting a party? Have non-alcoholic drink choices and plenty of food. Be prepared to have guests stay over if they are unable to drive. And make sure you know who’s there so you don’t inadvertently give alcohol to minors.
  • Lock your cars and don’t leave valuables inside. According to Madison Police, New Year’s Eve is one of the highest reported nights for auto theft.

Don’t start your new year with a disaster. Think ahead and have a safe and happy night.

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