TRIAD, NC -- The countdown is on – Sunday night, bars and restaurants in the Triad will be crowded with people ready to celebrate the new year.
But the cold temperatures and big crowds can also make things more dangerous if you’re out and about.
The Greensboro Police Department will have several dozen additional officers in the downtown area on patrol.
But another concern for officers are folks who attend house parties.
Corporal Holbrook with the Greensboro Police Department says when alcohol is involved, there’s no such thing as playing it safe, no matter where you're celebrating.
“With the house parties, it’s not the same large crowd as far as downtown but people are still drinking and they are still leaving after drinking and getting behind the wheel and they have accidents,” said Holbrook.
Hosting or attending a house party can be a more affordable option than going out to the bars.
However, according to police, it’s not always a safer alternative.
By law, the host of a house party is responsible for guests drinking at their home, which means you can be held liable if a person gets involved in a car accident after you gave them alcohol.
Holbrook says it’s important to be able to recognize the signs when a friend has too much to drink.
“Slurred speech, their fine motor skills, are they able to walk around good? Are they able to even dial on a cell phone,” said Holbrook. “People start stumbling over stuff. Just try to keep an eye on them.”
Another element you need to be prepared for is the cold weather.
With temperatures below freezing, some may be tempted to drink more to warm up.
But according to Andy Pate, a paramedic with Forsyth Co. Emergency Services, you don’t actually get any warmer from alcohol.
“One of the things about alcohol is it causes your blood vessels to get bigger. When that happens, you get more blood to the skin. As that happens, you lose body heat. You feel warm but you are actually getting colder,” said Pate. “Of course, other effects of alcohol is that is sometimes impairs your judgment and that incorporated with the cold weather is a recipe for bad things to happen.”
Pate says New Year's Eve is typically one of the busier nights of the year for paramedics and the frigid temperatures are only expected to make things worse.
Pate says it only takes a few minutes for your core temperature to drop low enough to risk hypothermia.
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