Ring in new year safely

As sure as there is a New Year’s Eve, just as predictable are the reminders about safety and celebrating sensibly.

The reminders wouldn’t be necessary if all would pause to ponder the possible consequences of acting irresponsibly, recklessly or without regard to others’ well-being, as well as one’s own.

However, each New Year’s Eve there are those who ignore common sense and positive advice and end up being the subject of tragic news articles the next day.

Acting on immature or wild impulse or engaging in stupid conduct – possibly with the intent to “impress” someone – often can result in tragedy and heartache for those left behind.

Celebrate the impending arrival of the new year. It’s a great opportunity to rekindle friendships and to make new friends.

But before the celebrations, people should take time to consider how their spouses, children, parents or other loved ones would be affected if they were “out of the picture” before the coming night is over.

Young people should reflect on how their hopes and dreams would be dashed – and how their parents’ efforts on their behalf would be damaged or destroyed – if they were forced to spend the rest of their lives in a wheelchair, or fully paralyzed.

On this joyous occasion it seems morbid to reflect on such possibilities, but it is better to acknowledge them now than to regret the coming night tomorrow.

Slow down, be courteous to other motorists, pay attention to the roadway and don’t drive after drinking alcoholic beverages.

Because some motorists refuse to acknowledge and heed such advice, take the extra precaution of not using a cellphone while in the process of operating a motor vehicle.

Another important safety tip for motorists on this occasion, as well as at other times, is to ensure that all of their vehicle’s lights are operating properly, so their position on the highway is able to be ascertained immediately by other drivers. Don’t go out to celebrate using a vehicle with serious mechanical problems.

Those who plan to drink should give their keys to a designated driver who will not consume alcohol.

Safety considerations are necessary off the highways too. Respectful conduct amid a party atmosphere helps to prevent arguments and fights that sometimes can lead to violent or deadly confrontations. Strive to set a good, friendly example that will “rub off” on others.

Meanwhile, make fire-safety precautions an important part of New Year’s Eve. Ensure that cigarettes are disposed of properly, that holiday decorations pose no fire danger and, if children are present for family gatherings, that they are properly supervised.

The 12 months ahead can be a year of hope, prosperity and great strides, or it can be a year of tragedy.

With New Year’s greetings should come the hope for correct choices today, tonight and in the months ahead.