October 25, 2023
Don’t let an accident kill your buzz, combat risks with simple solutions.
Tailgating season has arrived! That means it is time to break out the tents, bag chairs and lawn games for afternoons full of team spirit. But as you break out that grocery store checklist or start packing the car, make sure you are thinking about common hazards to be aware of, so an accident does not spoil the fun.
This article isn’t mean to kill your buzz, as most of these risks come with easy solutions, so hang in there with me!
Before popping the top on your favorite game day beverage, consider how these tips can help keep you safe this weekend:
No matter if you oversee food preparation, are on clean-up duty or simply indulging in snacks supplied by friends and family, it is wise to have hand sanitizers stationed throughout your tailgate space. Many tailgating locations do not have soap or running water but using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content can reduce germs and contamination.
Weather can be unpredictable this time of year, so come prepared with layers you can add or remove to keep your body comfortable if the temperature fluctuates. Staying hydrated is always important, especially when the weather is warm. Keep a water bottle in your car or near your seat to stay hydrated. Fall and winter can also bring gusty winds, so always pack weights or weighted items to keep tents and tables secure. Not only will this safeguard your loose food or paper products, but flying objects can also damage cars or nearby patrons – lock it down.
Some of the most popular tailgating foods risk foodborne illness if not handled properly. When grilling, be sure to keep a meat thermometer on hand and abide by these temperature guidelines for doneness. When cooking different types of meat, clean the thermometer between uses to reduce cross-contamination.
What about foods that are not served from the grill? A good rule of thumb is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold! Here are a few tips:
- For your hot items, use chafing dishes, insulated containers, slow cookers or keep the item wrapped in foil. All these methods will minimize the cooling process and keep your food at a safe temperature. If you cannot access these items, just be sure to consume the food within 2 hours from when it is prepared.
- For your cold items, incorporate enough ice or ice packs to maintain a consistently cold temperature throughout the tailgate. Consider using separate coolers for beverages and perishable foods to minimize temperature fluctuations as you go to pull your drinks.
Before you make your grocery list for this weekend’s events, support the safest environment you can by checking out some basic food handling guidelines: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/tailgating-food-safety-q
When entering or exiting your tailgating spot, there are many cars, people, pets, chairs and lawn games occupying the area. One suggestion would be to ask another adult to help guide your vehicle into and out of your spot. This person can help you to remain vigilant, so you do not risk an accident.
Our final tip is the most important of all. Whether your team wins or loses, it is easy to overindulge in the tailgating atmosphere. So, make sure you have a safe ride home! Designate a driver before you get to the event so everyone is on the same page. It is also smart to read the parking rules for your event location, to know if you can leave your car overnight and take a rideshare home.
Make your next game day a safe one as you cheer your team to victory this year. Go Team!