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Better safe than sorry

Chances are, at one time or another in their college careers, students have woken up far from the comfort of their bed on a tile floor, hugging a toilet and suffering from a headache that’s threatening to split their head in two.

We’ve all experienced hangovers and become experts at nursing ourselves back to health with aspirin, coffee and cold showers.

These remedies, however, don’t always provide relief. Perhaps even more common is the college student not remembering how they arrived home safely the night before. That’s a scary thought.

To have a safe and fun-filled evening without having to worry about who is driving or how to get home, students should plan ahead.

Lieutenant Joe Anderson of the University Police Department suggests cabs and assigning designated drivers. Anderson says that impaired judgment is the first sign of intoxication, so a student may think they can drive home without the proper judgment necessary to make the right decision.

Dealing with a headache in the morning should be the least of your worries, compared to what a student might encounter if caught driving under the influence.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Web site, if caught, first-time offenders can face fees of at least $250, imprisonment of up to six months, at least 50 hours of community service, at least six months of revocation of their driver’s license and enrollment in a substance abuse course.

Students can be aware of the consequences of drinking and driving without letting it hamper their good time. Think and act responsibly.

One safe alternative is to never leave home in the first place. Anderson says he would rather have students drink at home than go out and get behind the wheel after a few drinks.

If you are going out, choose a designated driver. While one person has to take a hit for the team, driving duty can be rotated and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Try calling a cab. Both United and Yellow cabs offer affordable rates. United Cab charges an initial fee of $1.75 and $2 for every mile thereafter. Yellow Cab charges $1.75 for the first 1/5 of a mile and 35 cents for each additional 1/5 of a mile, working out to $1.75 a mile.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Web site, if you plan on having a few drinks, stick to eating proteins, such as cheeses, meats, eggs and seafood. Protein slows down the absorption of alcohol. Stay away from crackers and chips; they increase blood alcohol levels at a faster rate.

Having a good time out with friends is part of the college experience. Just remember to drink responsibly and at a safe pace. If you feel that you or a friend’s judgment is impaired, act accordingly. Call a cab or a sober friend. They would rather drive you home safely than see you behind bars or in a casket.