As the days grow shorter and the weather cools off, football fans everywhere are gearing up for another season of tailgating. Tailgating is a great way to enjoy the game with friends and family, but it’s important to do it safely. With these seven tips for tailgating, you’re sure to have a safe and enjoyable game day.
1. Plan Ahead And Make A List
Planning is key when throwing a tailgate party. Make a list of what you’ll need to carry with you. This ensures that you don’t forget anything important. Include food, drinks, plates, cups, napkins, utensils, games, chairs, foam fingers, and tents or canopies. Next, decide what you want to serve. If you plan to cook at the tailgate party, make sure to pack a grill, charcoal or propane tanks, a cooler, utensils, and ingredients. If you don’t want to cook at the tailgate location, you can prepare food ahead of time or pick up something from a nearby restaurant or food truck.
2. Make Sure Your Grill Is In Good Working Order
Whether you’re at home or at a tailgate, following our safe-grilling tips is always a good idea. Before you head out to the game, check that your grill is in good working order. Examine it for any cracks in the metal or leaks in the hose(s) or propane tanks. Always be sure to clean the grill grates. If you're using charcoal, make sure you have enough coals to last the entire game. Remember the grill essentials: spatula, tongs, paper towels, and a brush to clean the grates.
3. Use Proper Food-Handling Techniques To Keep Food Safe
Food safety is very important for any cookout, including a tailgate party. Check out the CDC’s food safety guidelines or gameday cooking, and keep these tips in mind to help avoid foodborne illnesses:
Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing or eating food.
Keep food cold by using a cooler with ice packs.
Avoid leaving food out in the sun or in warm temperatures for extended periods of time, especially mayonnaise-based foods and dairy.
Cook meat thoroughly, using a food thermometer to make sure it reaches a safe internal temperature.
Pack perishable foods in containers that can be tightly sealed, such as zip-top bags.
4. Drink Responsibly
When tailgating with friends, it’s important to drink responsibly and not let alcohol interfere with your safety or that of others. Here are a few tailgating tips for staying safe while enjoying the game:
Pace yourself. Don’t drink too much too quickly.
Avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
Drink plenty of water. Alcoholic beverages can dehydrate you, so make sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
Drink in moderation to avoid injuring yourself and others.
5. Check The Weather Forecast
One of the most important things to do before a tailgate party is to check the weather forecast. This is especially important if you are planning to cook outdoors, as you will want to make sure that the forecast does not call for rain or high winds.
In the summer months, be sure to pack sunscreen and visors or hats. Bring plenty of cold drinks to stay cool. In the fall or winter, bring warm coats and blankets in case it gets chilly later in the day. For the games that take place in the dead of winter, pack hand and feet warmers to put inside your gloves and socks.
Most importantly, hail and lightning can present a serious safety hazard. If the forecast calls for severe weather, it is best to cancel the tailgate party and watch the game from home!
6. Arrive Early To Get The Best Spot
If you want to have a great tailgate party, you need to arrive early to find a good place to park and set up for the event. This is especially important if you are tailgating at a popular stadium or arena, as the prime parking areas fill up quickly.
Give yourself plenty of time to get everything ready before the others arrive. This way, you can relax and enjoy yourself for a while before the game begins without rushing to set up at the last minute.
7. Make Sure Your Vehicle Is Insured
When you're tailgating, you'll likely be driving to and from the game. Because anything can happen when you’re in your car, whether that’s on the road or in the parking lot, it's important to have your vehicle insured before heading out to the game. If something does happen, you'll be glad you have the car insurance coverage to protect yourself and your vehicle.
Following the tips for tailgating above is the easiest way to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable game day experience! Contact Acceptance Insurance to learn more about our insurance options that could protect you on game day—or get a no-hassle, free insurance quote online today!
Common Questions Asked About Safe Tailgating Tips
How Should I Pack My Cooler For A Tailgate Party?
When packing your cooler for a tailgate party, make sure to include plenty of cold drinks and food. You'll also want to pack some items that can be eaten easily as snacks or meals, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and chips. If you're bringing any perishables, pack them in a separate cooler from the drinks and keep them cold. Be sure to pack enough plates, napkins, cups, and utensils for all your guests.
What Are Some Common Foodborne Illnesses Associated With Tailgating?
When it comes to tailgating, food safety is key. Here are some of the most common foodborne illnesses associated with tailgating: Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Escherichia coli (E. coli). These bacteria can cause fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. They are often spread through contact with contaminated food or water.
Listeria is another type of bacteria to watch out for, as it can cause fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. It can also lead to more serious complications such as meningitis. Listeria is often found in unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses, as well as processed meats such as hot dogs and deli meats.
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