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10 essential tailgate party safety tips for the best pre-game fun

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Whether it’s a sports game or a neighborhood cook-out, having a tailgate party can be a lot of fun. It can also be a lot of work – unless you follow proper safety measures! Ensure you go about tailgating safely using these 10 tips so that you can make the best of your party.

Tailgating is a highly-anticipated American tradition before any big event. Folks look forward to breaking out their grills, grabbing a few beers, and enjoying some chow and bonding with friends and family before a game! It is usually held as a community event to get people in the mood before a sports game, concert, or as a neighborhood activity. It is also catching on as a popular Halloween event –  trunk-or-treating events where children and adults both get their spook on!

Participants at a tailgating party

However, tailgating also comes with its own share of hazards! As you may know, it involves perishable food, grills, charcoal, alcohol – the works. You may also have a lot of flammable material nearby, like cooking oils and portable tents. You don’t want all of that to snowball into a nuisance for you – it could even affect your car insurance in the future. Here are our 10 simple tailgate party safety tips to have an enjoyable pre-event party!

Tailgate party safety tips

1. Drive safely while finding a tailgating spot

Tailgate parties are often large events, with many groups of people heading to a common location (like a parking lot) and crowding around each car. Due to the community-led nature of the party, it can include all ages – from seniors to children. Be very careful when driving into a spot and setting up your party. People often play catch and children run around and play in these areas. The last thing you want is to drive recklessly and end up causing an accident! That’s a basic tailgate party safety tip for you.

2. Perishable food: When in doubt, toss it out

What’s a tailgate party without some chow to munch on? Besides the main course of grilled meats that are cooked open-air, sandwiches, chips, casseroles and other cooked dishes are also a staple at tailgate parties. You can bring portable refrigerators and snack tables to set everything up, but ensure all your food is fresh either way. If you feel some of the food tastes weird, throw it out immediately. It’s especially easy for food to spoil when placed outside for more than two hours. Trust us – it isn’t worth getting food poisoning the next day! 

3. Pack your meats separately

Beef, pork, chicken, bacon – meats are a staple ingredient of most tailgate parties. However, it’s best to not mix them with the other dishes until it’s time for the party. Pack the meats separately in iced coolers or in individual containers until you’re ready to grill them. Also, stash the utensils used to cook the meat separately – do not mix them with other cutting utensils.  

4. Grill safely

It’s very important that you follow safe grilling practices for your tailgate party. First, you need to ensure that the grilled meat is fit for consumption by taking its temperature with an instant-read thermometer. According to Foodsafety.gov, chicken and turkey should be cooked to at least 165°F, ground beef to at least 160°F, and steaks, chops, and fish to 145°F. Besides, you must keep a fire extinguisher close at hand every time you fire up the grill. Make sure you turn off the gas and douse the coals with water when you’re done.

Finally, also have a first aid kit handy in case you get any burns or cuts. 

Dishes at a tailgating party

5. Follow fire safety measures

Grilling involves a moderate level of experience, so do not get complacent and play with fire. Always ensure that you have fire extinguishers nearby and have first aid kits for everyone at the party. Besides, set up the grill in a well-ventilated area, where the smoke will not affect too many people. Avoid grilling in a tent or in close quarters where people may graze the grill. After you’re done grilling, do not leave the coals burning or dump them anywhere. It’s best to wait until they’re sufficiently cool and dispose of them safely.

6. Outdoor sun protection and hydration

Tailgate parties are outdoor events – so ensure you have enough sunscreen on you! While hats and caps might do the trick on most days, you never know if getting too much sun can backfire! Drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure you don’t get tired out before the game/event. This is especially true if you’re handling the grill. 

7. Book parking in advance

Tailgating is no fun if you don’t have a convenient parking spot to chill in! While tailgating policies may differ between lots and garages, there may be several outdoor parking lots that have flexible policies on tailgating parties. Pre-book a convenient spot using a parking app like Way.com so that you won’t have to hustle before the game!

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8. Keep an eye on the alcohol

Given that tailgating events usually happen before sports games, a lot of alcohol will be involved. Everyone wants to grab a chilled beer, kick back with buddies, and get rowdy before the big game! However, if you’re going to drink at a tailgate, do it responsibly. Keep a designated driver who will abstain from alcohol and will be able to drive you home. Finally, don’t just continue downing drinks throughout the night – have a bite too. Otherwise, you’d better be prepared for a helluva hangover!

9. Keep surfaces clean to prevent the spread of contaminants

Wherever cooking is involved, there will be cleaning involved! Ensure you clean your grills, plates, dishes, and other utensils used at the tailgate party. Apart from avoiding food-borne illness, also follow the current CDC recommendations for cleaning surfaces.

10. Stay in your lane – literally!

It’s easy to get drunk and high on sports rivalries at tailgating events – enough to result in some light punch-ups! However, if you’re tailgating at a public place with other groups, it’s advised to keep to your own set of people, especially it’s a family event. It’s best to not pick unnecessary arguments or fights with other groups. If you feel things taking a turn for the worse – call the authorities immediately.

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Read more blogs on affordable airport parking, the best insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.


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