The Super Bowl is always a reason for a party. Every year at this time the big game is on the minds of every football fan. If you are hosting a party at your home make sure you take steps to ensure the safety of everyone.
Don’t Allow a Guest to Drive Drunk
When you think of safety the first thing that comes to mind is getting home after the game. The pre-game, halftime show and the game itself can easily span 5 hours. Enough time to put a guest over the .08 blood alcohol content level (BAC) in Texas. That can spell disaster in a city like Houston because people often have to drive on busy freeways to get home. Even if you live close to where the party is, driving on the freeway for a mile or two can put you in a difficult situation fast.
With your reaction time and awareness impaired you can easily cause a car accident. Some reports suggest that serious car accidents increase over 50% or more on Super Bowl Sunday, many of these are caused by drivers who have been drinking . If you cause an accident and injure another driver and their passengers you will face a personal injury lawsuit and most likely a DWI charge. Dealing with the drunk driving charge on its own will probably set you back $10,000. If you are hosting a party encourage those attending to take Uber or Lyft, have a designated driver or stay overnight.
Tips to Encourage Guests to Drink Responsibly
There are some things that as a host you can do to reduce the likelihood of a guest drinking and driving:
- Make sure food and snacks are served early, before the game and as soon as guests arrive;
- Ask who is driving when guests arrive;
- Have non-alcoholic beverages available;
- Serve light beer that has a lower alcohol content;
- Try to discourage guests from drinking mixed drinks or liquor or eliminate that option altogether;
- Stop serving alcoholic drinks at the start or end of the third quarter just like they do at some professional sporting events;
- Most importantly keep an eye on your guests, if you know someone intends to drive home don’t let them if they are impaired.
These steps can help ensure your guests are able to drive home safely.
Safety Tips for the Homeowner
It may surprise you but as a host of a party if you are serving alcohol you could be held liable if someone leaves your party and causes a serious car accident. There are also other areas of potential liability, here are some of them and tips to avoid any incidents during the party:
Pets: your dogs may be your best friend but they can act differently around people they don’t know. Even the friendliest dogs may act up in a crowd of people, especially if food is being served. The best idea is to remove them from your home completely. If that isn’t possible put them in their cage or in a place where guests will not interact with them, perhaps upstairs or outside.
Trip and falls: luckily in Houston we won’t have to worry about snow, it is however a homeowners responsibility to maintain sidewalks out in front of your home. If there is an uneven walkway or a trip hazard in your backyard make sure you block it with pylons and tape so that people are aware and avoid any injury it might cause.
Barbecues and other outdoor cooking: it is best if you prepare all food ahead of time and refrain from using a barbecue or outdoor deep fryers when the game is on and guests are around. Deep fryers can be dangerous and they definitely heighten the risk of injury at your party.
Bacteria and foodborne illness: avoid cooking foods such as raw chicken before the party and make sure the area where you serve food is clean. If you are serving takeout or catered food make sure hot food is kept above 140 F and cold food and dips below 40 F.
Planning ahead and taking steps to reduce the likelihood of any type of injury or accident is the best way to ensure that your Super Bowl party is a success and everyone arrives back home safely. Michael P. Fleming is a board certified personal injury lawyer in Houston.