How to get home safe on New Year's

We all like to celebrate New Year in our own way. Many prefer to go out to ring in the year with a bang. But does everyone have a safe plan on how to home once the party has ended? Moneybags journalist, Ashleigh Brown, looks at ways to get home safe this New Year.

So the party has just ended, and maybe you have celebrated just a little too much. Time to get yourself home, tucked into bed, and sleep it off. But do you know how to get home safely?

Every year over the festive season there are many accidents, thanks in part to drunk drivers. As a result, South Africa has a very high drunk driving accident rate. Drinking and driving is very dangerous, and can ruin not only your life, but other unsuspecting people’s lives too.

One way to avoid driving under the influence is to plan ahead. This is the best way to make sure you, and other road users stay safe on New Year’s.

New Years at home

The best way to get home safely is just not to leave home. This might sound a little boring, but it means you and your friends can party all the way into 2015 without having to worry about organising transport and trying to call a taxi in a drunken slur.

Get the party vibe going by making sure that everyone is invited with enough notice. If you leave it to the last minute, your friends may have  made other arrangements.

Facebook is a great way to get the word out. Simply create a group, invite your friends to it, and let everyone know what is happening.

Also try and be as creative as possible about the countdown. For example, get everyone to blow up a balloon, and once it hits midnight, they can all pop them – this way you can really send the old year out with a bang!

The designated driver

Staying at home may not be appealing. We get that. So if you insist on going out and driving you will have no choice but to appoint a designated driver.

If you have a friend who doesn’t like drinking, or is willing to ‘take one for the team’, then ask them if they wouldn’t mind being the designated driver for the night.

This means that you will have someone who you can rely on and this is also one of the leastexpensives way to get back home. You also don’t have to fight with the taxi driver on where you are going to be picked up, as your friend should know where you are going to be dropped off.

Alternatively, try and get a designated place where everyone can sleep over. Then you can all go to the designated home (which you can set up and organise beforehand) and your driver doesn’t have to drop everyone off at different locations.

Or, if you have really understanding parents, then ask them to drop you and your friends off and pick you up again (but make sure you thank them a lot!).

Pre-book a taxi

If you know exactly what time you are going to want to leave, and from where, then you can pre-book a taxi to come and pick you up, and drop you off.

This way, the only thing you have to worry about is making it to the taxi on time, and hoping nobody else takes it in the interim.

You can call any of the local taxis in the area to make a booking. But remember, they are going to be pretty busy on this night, as everyone is going to be trying to get home.

Uber

Uber has recently garnered a lot of negative publicity following the alleged rape of a female passenger by one of the company’s drivers in New Delhi, India. A number of law suits are underway against Uber too. This company has since been banned from operating in several countries as a result including India, Germany and the United States.

Currently, it is not banned in South Africa. The reason why Uber initially became so popular is because it boasted safety measures including giving passengers and friends of passengers the ability to keep track of the taxi on Google maps. So if the company is still allowed to operate in South Africa it may be an option on New Year’s after a debaucherous night out. But be cautious and let your friends and family know that you are using the company to get you home.

Before you go out partying for the night, make sure you download the Uber application. The taxi company says that you can connect with a driver in minutes, in order to get you to your destination.

Because the app uses your GPS location to find you, you don’t have to struggle trying to explain to the driver where you are.

With Uber, you also don’t have to pay cash, but rather link your bank account to the app. That way, after the night out, you and your friends don’t have to try and scrape money together to try and pay the taxi driver – it will just automatically come off of your account.

Get a free ride home

Banks provide ‘take me home services’, which give free rides to their customers after a night out. A number of other companies like insurers, have since stepped in to provide ‘take me home services’ to their clients as well.

Three of the big four banks: Standard Bank, Absa and First National Bank offer a certain number of free rides per year to their customers.

Nedbank does not yet offer this service, but a number of insurers offer them too, including Santam and First for Women.

For more information on this service, click here.

This New Year’s make sure you plan ahead, and organise your transport home beforehand. Whether that is booking a taxi, or having some be the designated driver, nobody wants a good night out, and the start to the New Year ruined by an accident.