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How alcohol can affect your home security

3rd December 2017

Right, I guess there’s no avoiding it any more. It’s December and so the C word is well and truly around the corner. No, not *that* one, and don’t be vulgar – I’m talking about Christmas of course. The John Lewis advert is out, we’ve had the first smattering of snow, the advent calendars have been torn open, and I’m beginning to stress about having done no preparation whatsoever. 

The festive season sees a huge increase in the number of parties on the horizon. Not for me, obviously, as I don’t get invited to any. But popular people – they’ll be out constantly this month. Office parties, work dos, family get togethers – it’s a time for eating, drinking and celebrating. And speaking of drinking, that brings us to the subject of today’s blog – how the consumption of alcohol can, believe or not, directly affect our home security. 

First the science bit. Alcohol is a depressant. It dampens the transmissions from the brain’s neurotransmitters... yada yada… which is why you get that rather pleasant feeling of relaxation. All well and good – relaxing is excellent, right? Well yes, but the depressants also counteract the functions in the brain that prevent you from doing something silly, hence the way we lose inhibitions after a glass of wine or two. Alcohol also affects our hand-eye co-ordination and our mental judgement, thus making it a lot more difficult to carry out everyday tasks. We are more easily distracted and lose track of what we are doing. This is why we have drink-drive laws, by the way. 

These are just the first effects, of course. Keep drinking and this can lead to slurred speech, anxiety, depression, blackouts, loss of memory and eventually voting for Donald Trump. And look where that’s got us. But anyway, this is a locksmith’s blog so let’s try and connect the dots and look at the ways drinking can impact on our own home security. 

Common home security problems

The truth is that a late-night lock-in often ends up with a lock-out. The consumption of alcohol directly increases your chance of being locked out of your house, stranding you out in the cold rather than tucked up in bed. This can happen in a number of ways. 

Firstly, through the best of intentions you may have given your keys to a friend. This can be good practice – swapping keys means the temptation to drive yourself home whilst over the limit is taken away, and we’re all in favour of that. However, be sure to keep that friend near you throughout the night – if you get separated from them during a night of drinking, or indeed have swapped with someone you thought was going to be your best friend forever only to remember in the cold night that you’ve only known them 2 hours and will never see them again - you may find yourself arriving home and fumbling in your pockets to either find nothing there, or touch on a peculiar set of keys that don’t fit your house. With alcohol it’s likely that you’ll forget who exactly has got your keys.

The sensible next step in this case would be that you call on the services of your friendly locksmith to get you access to the house. However, drunkenness and sense are so infrequently found together. So, you’re too drunk to drive, too drunk to remember who you gave your keys to, but suddenly you’re not too drunk to think you’d make a decent locksmith, and you start to try to pick the lock yourself. The next think you know, the lock is broken, there’s half a key sticking out where you’ve tried to force it in, and you’re in a worse position than when you started. It’s not looking such a silly suggestion now to save a locksmith’s details into your mobile phone before a night out, is it?  As well as alcohol fooling people into thinking they’re an expert lock picker, I’ve also seen instances where they assume it gives them superhuman strength and so try to barge their own door down. In this instance the best case scenario is an expensive bill to fix the door, and the worst case scenario is a broken shoulder, combined with many hours in A&E. 

This isn’t the only problem you might encounter. Remember that hand-eye co-ordination we were talking about? Yeah, a lot of drink and it’s not as easy to get that key into the lock as you thought it was. This can result in dropping and losing of keys, or trying to force the wrong key in the wrong lock. In a sober state, doing the latter would simply result in you realising the key didn’t fit and trying another one. However, when drunk the world doesn’t work this way. Your brain will tell you that if you try, try and try again, eventually this key will fit the lock. Strangely, this rarely happens and you’re more than likely to end up with a snapped key and spending a cold night outside.  And now with a snapped key in the lock, you’ve only gone and made the original problem worse. 

So what if you’ve ignored the warnings here? Don’t worry, I’m used to people ignoring me so you wouldn’t be the first. You wake up the morning after the night before to find that you gained access to your house by breaking the door down after snapping your key in the lock. Now, your home security is totally compromised. You can’t lock your own door and even if you could, the broken door means a burglar could easily get in. Finally you’re sober, and thankfully it’s not too late to repair the damage. The first thing you need to do is call a locksmith to secure your home. I promise we won’t judge you too harshly. Much. 

How to improve your home security

Anyway, as an early Christmas present to you, I will leave you with a few tips to reduce the chances of a night out leading to...well, a night out in the cold. 

  1. Make sure you’re drinking with people you know and trust. It will make it a lot easier to get your keys back, believe me. 
  2. Don’t forget to eat! If you know you’re going on a night out, makes sure you have had a good meal as this makes sure your body absorbs the alcohol more slowly and your judgement may not be QUITE so affected. 
  3. Have an emergency locksmith’s number saved in your mobile. I know it’s not that sexy (although I try), but if needed, it will be a godsend.
  4. If you’re lucky enough to have a designated driver (God bless those teetotal friends), see if you can impose on them to keep your keys safe too. At least that way you’ll have one sober person able to get you into your house at the end of the night. 

All that’s left is for me to wish all my readers and customers the happiest of Christmases and wishing you all the best for the New Year. For any lock repairs or replacements over the festive period and beyond, please contact me on 07990 573857.

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