Buy drinks, not danger: Tips on staying safe while bar hopping

Living/Athens Editor

Athens, Ga. is, inherently, a college town. With restaurants and bars scattered all over the city, it’s a notorious place for college students to drink and be social. When one is of age, drinking can be a fun activity to do with a group of friends. Though it is deemed a care-free and thoughtless form of fun, it can also mean encountering dangerous situations.

When going to a bar, there are normally large amounts of intoxicated people. With that comes the possibility of fights, sexual assault, drug use and other dangers. All of these potential risks relate to males and females, though certain ones are usually associated with women. The following tips are important to keep in mind when going out for the night:

Stay in groups: Those who went to the bar together should be sure to stay together throughout the night. That doesn’t necessarily mean to stay attached at the hip, but one should always be sure that there is a familiar face nearby. Also, never leave a bar without someone in the group. If so, the person being left beind may not be able to find his or her way to where the rest of the group went, or he or she could end up going somewhere with a stranger.

Establish a way home: Figure out a person to be the designated driver, and be sure that he or she is trustworthy. Drinking and driving is a very dangerous thing to do. Not only can it get drunk drivers and their passengers in trouble, but other drivers as well. If no one in a group is willing to stay sober, be sure to have a number on hand to call for either a taxi or Uber.

Be cautious of strangers: It’s common for hookups to begin in bars, but it’s still important to be careful about going home with a stranger. If one is being hit on by someone that one doesn’t know and feels uncomfortable about it, one should politely step away from the stranger and find familiar faces. If the situation escalates, it’s a good idea to either leave the bar or report the person. If one does choose to go home with someone met on a night out, one should let one’s friends know where the new acquitance lives and be sure to bring a charged phone, in case of an emergency. Another tip regarding strangers is to never accept a drink from anyone that is unfamiliar. It’s never a guarantee that he or she didn’t slip something in the drink to drug whoever his or she is attempting to give it to. Being drugged could lead to a much more dangerous situation.

Avoid confrontation: With such crowded spaces and drunken people, many times bars are the perfect place for fights to break out. Though it can be easy to let a spilt drink be upsetting, it’s not worth a fight. Fights can lead to physical harm but also involve getting kicked out of the bar and potentially the police getting called. The whole point of going out is to have fun, so don’t ruin a good time with a fight.

Choose safe environments: Before heading out for the night, decide what area to go to. This way, ending up in a sketchy location can be avoided. If one goes to a bar where there is illegal and dangerous activity occurring, it’s probably best to leave and go somewhere else. Regardless if one chooses to participate in the activity or not, one could still end up in trouble for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Going out for a night of fun with friends and drinking is perfectly fine when all parties are of age. However, it’s important to be aware of one’s surroundings and to be cautious of others. Aside from that, always remember to watch how much alcohol intake one has had to assure one’s safe decision-making skills.

Don’t be afraid to embrace what a college town such as Athens has to offer. Going to different bars in the downtown area to dance and drink is meant to be fun, not scary or dangerous. Keep these tips in mind for the next night out, so one can be sure to buy drinks, not danger.