The weekends are supposed to be a college student’s stress-free days of the week. The time when homework is ignored and sleeping in is essential so the long nights ahead aren’t as exhausting. However, fun nights can turn dangerous quickly if the correct precautions are not taken to insure safety. Although a not every dangerous event can be preventable, several actions can be taken to help avoid these potentially dangerous situations.
- Take advantage of buses: All you need is your student ID to ride the St. Cloud Metro Bus. Both St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Community and Technical College can take advantage of this transportation. During the week, the Husky Shuttle runs every ten minutes, picking up and dropping off at the Wick science building. On the weekend, the Late Nite bus is available (no student ID required after 1:50 am). It’s a 20-minute route that runs Thursday-Saturday evenings beginning and ending at the Metro Bus station. It’s a great option for those who do not have a ride home, don’t have anyone to walk with, or it’s too cold outside.
- Stick with a group: Walking home intoxicated can often be dangerous in its own way due to the way motor abilities are impaired while under the influence. But walking in groups is a much safer option. Maddie Oatman, in an article for “Mother Jones” gives a couple tips to walking home. “Don’t wear dark colors, stay out of the road as much as possible, and walk in a group (ideally with some sober folks sprinkled in),” said Oatman. Having a sober person in the group creates a safer environment for those under the influence.
- Plan ahead: It’s important to not only know how you’re going to get home but exactly where you are going at the end of the night as well (your place, friends place, significant other, etc.). Find someone who will agree to pick you up at the end of the night and make sure they are aware of the time and place you need to be picked up and the location they are dropping you off (if they aren’t bringing you home with them). According to an article by the U.S. army about drunk driving, 29 percent of all deaths due to motor accidents in 2015 involved a driver with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit.
- Carry the essentials: There are several things that should be brought at any time you decide to go out. Keys, a charged cell phone, cash, both student ID and license, and possibly pepper spray – should all be considered essentials. Keys will get you into your home at the end of the night, a charged phone allows you to get a hold of someone in case of an emergency (or if someone is trying to reach you), cash allows you to pay for things like a taxi if no other rides are available, student ID will get you on buses and your license will provide your information to someone in case of an emergency, and pepper spray is good to have in case of an assault or other emergencies. Drinkinganddriving.org suggests putting a local taxi’s contact info in your phone before you go out to prevent panic or confusion when trying to contact a taxi to get you home.
- Know who to call: Know the phone numbers of any person or place you may need to contact when you go out, for both personal and emergency reasons. Whether you are out sober (your friends may need your help) or under the influence, being prepared means being able to respond quickly to a situation. Phone numbers you may need are those of your designated driver, a sibling/friend/significant other you may need to get a hold of in an emergency, the local police station, taxi or another transportation service, etc. For St. Cloud students some numbers to know are listed below:
- Public Safety 320-308-3333
- St. Cloud Taxi Service 320-547-6053
- St. Cloud Hospital 320-251-2700
- St. Cloud Police (non-emergency) 320-345-4444
Staying safe is sometimes easier said than done but the reward of keeping yourself or a loved one safe is worth the extra effort before leaving home. Keeping those next to you out of harm’s way is just as important as ensuring your own safety. Following these guidelines will keep you safer so you can focus on having fun instead of dealing with the consequences of an emergency. Your friends and family will thank you for taking the extra precautions, and you’ll thank yourself too.