If you love football, and sometimes even if you don’t, Super Bowl Sunday might be one of your favorite events of the year. Super Bowl Sunday is the day the NFL plays its annual championship game, and it’s usually on the first Sunday in February. Some call it an unofficial national holiday. 

Sports bars are packed on Super Bowl Sunday, and many people also have parties with friends and families at their homes. Even for people not interested in sports or football, the social aspects can be appealing. An estimated 20 million Americans attend Super Bowl Parties, and more than 151 million watch the game throughout the world. 

Some have even called for a three-day holiday to celebrate the weekend, and the traditions involve the consumption of pretty large amounts of food and alcohol while watching the game. 

So, if you do love football and you’re planning to celebrate pretty hard in February 2020, how can you stay safe while doing so?

Driving Safety

Because, unfortunately, how many people are on the roads after drinking on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s important that you use extra caution when you’re driving. Also, remember that driving under the influence can have serious repercussions. For example, you can face fines of up to $10,000 in many states, and if you’re driving intoxicated with a child under the age of 15 in the car you could get six months to two years in jail.

This is especially relevant because many Super Bowl parties are family-friendly, and even if you don’t feel intoxicated, in the eyes of the law, you might be. 

Additionally, even if you’re sober, there’s a very high chance other people won’t be. 

As well as using caution in terms of drinking and driving, you have to think about another big risk, which is drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is responsible for tens of thousands of crashes every year. 

Make sure you’re paying attention and that you’re alert enough to make it home after the party. 

If you’re hosting a party, make an effort to avoid letting anyone drive home if they’re intoxicated. You can call a cab, use a rideshare service, or offer to let them spend the night. If you are the party host, you could be held legally responsible if someone ends up in a crash related to substance use. 

If you’re attending a party and you plan to drink, try to arrange your transportation well in advance. 

Hosting the Party

If you’re hosting the party, in addition to planning ahead to help people find rides, try and make sure you offer plenty of food. This will help encourage people to eat so that they’re not drinking on an empty stomach. Don’t forget to offer non-alcoholic beverages as well. 

During the last quarter of the game, maybe you bring out coffee and dessert instead of more alcohol. 

If You’re Going Out For the Game

If you’re going to go somewhere else to watch the game, there are plenty of things to keep in mind as well.

First, go with a group. It can be dangerous to go out alone to a bar, particularly on a hard-partying night like Super Bowl Sunday. Stick with someone from the group at all times, and don’t leave your drink unattended. 

If you notice a rowdy or aggressive situation happening in the bar, make sure you avoid it. 

Other tips for being safe during a night out include:

  • Set limits for yourself and stick to them
  • Drink slowly and switch off between drinks with alcohol and nonalcoholic drinks
  • Go somewhere that serves food you like so you can make sure you’re eating enough
  • Only use substance at a time—for example, don’t take any medications or use substances like marijuana while you’re drinking alcohol because the effects of the substances can be amplified
  • Try to choose a place to go that’s not going to be so crowded that something dangerous could happen without someone noticing it
  • Choose a place that puts an effort into hosting a safe party and offers security and is well-staffed

Finally, whether it’s Super Bowl Sunday or otherwise, whenever you’re out and about at a bar or nightlife venue, never drink to the point that you lose awareness of what’s happening around you. Be able to recognize what’s happening and, if necessary, report behavior that could be unsafe or problematic.

Super Bowl Sunday is known as a party day, but that doesn’t have to mean it’s a risky day.