A university in the US has come out with a nail polish that changes colour when it detects chemicals such as GBH, Rohypnol or Xanax.

All that one has to do is dip a finger in their drink and the nail polish changes colour, indicating the presence of substances. However, this approach has been deemed impractical as research suggests that incidents of date-rape occur mostly when the perpetrator is known to the victim and that at times, it is one too many cocktails that becomes the drug that is involved. But that doesn’t mean one has to party sober. Here are ways to be smart and safe about your single’s night out.

Never leave your glass out of sight
The most common reason for a date-rape is someone spiking your drink. So, it’s important to never leave your drink out of sight. Says Tina Bakshi, who manages a suburban nightclub, “Although it is not that common, we advise people to not leave their drink unattended. In fact, it’s not necessary that such a stunt could be pulled off by a stranger. It could also be someone close to you, who could attempt such a thing.” She adds that it’s safe to keep an eye on your drink when out to meet someone for the first time. “Although the onus is not always on the girl, and it’s the guys who are responsible for such a thing, it’s best to take precaution.”

Avoid Drinking in public places
If you are ordering drinks on your first date, it’s never a good thing to go overboard with it. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, it’s best to be clear headed. Remember that it’s a public place, and at times, even drink could itself play the role of a date-rape drug. According to Ganesh Narwade, manager of a popular city nightclub, people should know their limits. “In what I have seen, a drink or maximum two is good when you’re out on a date. If you’re in a group, the dynamics are different. But if you’re not sure, it’s good to drink at home instead,” he says.

Stay away from a blind date
While we all love the mystery of a blind date, and that first dates are a rather exciting time, it could also lead to a bad experience. Rita Shetty (name changed), who was a victim to a bad blind dating experience, says, “I met one guy through a social networking site and we started chatting. He seemed decent enough and we decided to meet up for drinks. He turned out to be a creep and I left the date midway, with an excuse that an emergency had come up at home.”

Don’t feel obligated to accept anything
If someone passes you a glass or plate, it’s not too scandalising to get your guard up. Hairstylist Sapna Bhavnani, a regular partygoer, feels that while accepting something is okay from someone whom you meet for the first time, you shouldn’t feel obligated. “Accepting a drink from someone isn’t a big deal especially if you’re in a crowded place, like a club or a restaurant. Going out is about getting to know other people. But at the same time, one should not feel obligated towards anything. No one’s doing you a favour,” she says, adding that one can always excuse themselves.

Keep a sober friend for company
If you’re out with friends, always have one friend who is being sober. Says Bhavnani, “If I’m going out in a group, it’s usually me who is the sober person. It’s a good thing because the others can then be care free and have a good time. And, if someone does go overboard with their drink, the sober person can handle them.” Even Bakshi, who has seen her share of drunk groups in her club, says, “When people go overboard in a group and there is no one to handle them, it can get chaotic. Young people especially, need to have a few sober friends around if they want to do a night of heavy partying as you want things to end smoothly at the end of the night.”

Nifty apps for single women

Hour Women Safety: Lets you broadcast messages including audio, video and pictures to an emergency contact list.

SOS-Stay Safe: A simple shake of the phone lets you send a distress signal to friends and families.

SafetiPin: Provides information on locations that you might visit including pictures and safety scores.

bSafe: Lets you create a network of guardians around you, who can help when notified.

TellTail: Sends distress alerts and location even if your GPS is not working