How to stay safe during a night out with friends

If you visit a local courthouse in the Charleston area on any given day, you might see someone who is in court for something that happened when a "moms' night out" or "dads' night out" went awry.

Dealing with a DUI charge can be an embarrassing and expensive footnote to what otherwise was a fun evening. But a night out with your friends doesn't need to end badly. Here are tips on how to remain safe:

Get a taxi or an Uber. This might not seem as convenient as driving yourself home, but think about how inconvenient a DUI arrest would be.

Have a spouse, significant other or friend give you a ride home. If you don't want to deal with the hassle of using a cab or Uber, arrange for a ride home at the end of the evening. Set up a time in advance or send a text when the night is coming to an end. Even if you're having only a drink or two, knowing you don't have to drive will make the night more relaxing.

Don't drink alcohol in excess. Don't overdo it, and drink water to remain hydrated.

If you're in public, never leave your drink unattended. You might not have thought about this one, but yes, it's true that there are people who tamper with other people's drinks. You've undoubtedly heard or read about this in the news.

Keep the Big Three close. The Big Three are your phone, keys and money. Know where they are at all times.

Make sure your phone is fully charged. Phones can be a lifesaver in many situations. The last thing you want at the end of the evening is a dead phone when you really need it.

Don't give personal information to someone you just met.

Check on yourself. Halfway through the evening, do a little "self-check" on how you are doing. "Am I feeling O.K.?" "Should I slow down?" "How's everyone else doing?"

Promise you'll look out for each other. If a member of your group wants to really "let loose," pay close attention to what he or she is doing. Be willing and prepared to cut him or her off, before things get out of control.

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