With football season right around the corner, tailgating outside of college and pro football stadiums will certainly be in full swing. Whether the tailgate serves as a chance to grill some food, or enjoy a cold drink, it's the perfect pre-game tradition. But it can also expose you to some risk. Here are some tailgating safety tips to keep your family and friends safe while they're getting ready for the big game.
- Maintain Proper Food Temperatures
Be sure to put plenty of ice in your cooler, particularly if you are bringing raw or uncooked meat. It's important to keep meat cold before cooking to prevent food poisoning. It’s also important to keep hot food insulated.
- Bring Fire Extinguisher, First Aid Kit
A hot grill, wind and debris can lead to sudden fires or accidents, so be prepared with a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. Check the expiration date on the fire extinguisher before packing it and keep it nearby while grilling. Keep children and pets a safe distance from the grill at all times.
- Use Gas Grills Safely
Loose gas hoses and improper lighting can cause a host of problems that put you and neighboring fans in danger. An all-too-common mistake is lighting a gas grill while the top is closed, which can result in an explosion. If you're unfamiliar with your grill's safety features, read your safety guide before the game.
- Check If Coals Have Cooled
After grilling an assortment of meat, some people leave the air and wind to cool down the coals as head over to the game. But this is one way that banners, tents and even cars may catch fire. Instead, grill early on when you tailgate and make sure you completely put out the embers. And look for specially designated bins where you can dispose of hot coals.
- Dispose Of Trash Properly
Tossing garbage on the ground can pose dangers for other drivers who don't see it when they pull out of the parking lot. Keep a garbage bag with your party while tailgating and make sure you collect all trash before going into the stadium. This will keep you from forgetting anything and lessen the mess when you return to your car.
- Protect Yourself From the Sun
Too much of a good thing can be bad, and when you're in the sun all afternoon, dehydration, sunburn and even sun poisoning can quickly set in. Drinking plenty of water and coming equipped with sunscreen and your favorite sports team's hat can keep you protected from the effects of harmful rays.
- Hide Valuables
While you're inside watching the game, criminals could be winning a game of their own by breaking into fans' vehicles. Leaving valuables at home is never a bad policy when going to a large public forum. If you have valuables in your car, hide them from plain sight and keep doors locked and alarms on.
- Remove Debris Before Driving Home
Driving over cans or glass bottles when leaving the game can cause significant damage to your vehicle. It pays to take a quick walk around your vehicle to remove anything that may damage your tires and leave you waiting for a tow truck. Don't forget to look under your car, as well.
- Designate a Driver
Some people may walk out of a game not realizing that they've had one too many. Designating a driver who will avoid alcohol is a small action that may end up saving someone's life.
- Take Extra Precautions in Parking Lots
No one likes to drive in a crowd, and racing through the parking lot to get out of the stadium can only spell trouble. To avoid the embarrassment of hitting a parked car, watch your speed and give yourself plenty of space to maneuver around vehicles when you leave.