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Keep safe on New Year’s

Nobody will be happier to see 2020 go than — well, all of us. With 2020 being the most reviled year in recent memory, lots of people are placing their hope in a fresh start for 2021.

COVID-19, despite its emergence in late 2019, affected the most lives in 2020. It’s safe to say that 2020 was nothing like anyone expected it would be when they rang in the new year last January.

Unfortunately, the pandemic is still with us, and health experts are calling on everybody to stay home and celebrate New Year’s Eve with the people you live with to help avoid the spread of the virus. Indeed, Gov. Ralph Northam’s midnight to 5 a.m. curfew is still in effect, so even those who do go out technically should be home by midnight.

Recognizing there may be a few people who flout both the health recommendation and the curfew, however, we feel it important to note that another danger lurks for those who will be on the roads: drunken drivers.

It’s no myth — New Year’s Eve and the early-morning hours of New Year’s Day are some of the most dangerous times to be on the roads all year long. Since AAA’s Tipsy Tow service is unavailable in the greater Hampton Roads area this year, here are some tips to keep in mind and make sure you plan ahead.

If you’re hosting

  • Serve nonalcoholic drinks and plenty of tasty snacks.
  • Ask your guests about plans for a designated driver.
  • Offer alternative transportation.
  • Give drunken guests a place to crash.
  • Confiscate keys at the door and make sure nobody who is intoxicated gets their keys back at the end of the night.

If you’re going out

  • Have a designated driver.
  • Take a taxi, Uber or Lyft.
  • Accept your host’s offer to stay over. If they don’t offer, ask.
  • Give your keys to the host if you’re afraid you might get too drunk to drive safely.