Whether you’re in love with the game or the food, football season has officially arrived. That means the fun of tailgating season has also begun. It takes a lot of effort to host a successful tailgate, but it’s important to protect yourself, your cars, and your guests. Here’s what you need to know and do before the big tailgate…we mean game.
- Make a plan
First things first: start with a plan. Are snacks enough, or does live grilling sound more appealing? Better yet, how about both? Once you’ve decided on the menu, make sure it’s stored properly (ie temperature and proximity to other foods – we’ll get to that below). Depending on where you live and how far into the season you are, you may encounter different weather conditions (sun and heat, rain or even cold and snow). It’s important to dress the part and pack things to keep you at a comfortable temperature under the tailgate and big game. Also, don’t forget to come prepared with one car emergency/first aid kit.
- Cooking and storage
Regardless of whether you plan to grill or have ready-made food, it is important to ensure food is at a safe temperature to eat. If you have food that you plan to grill, common foods such as hamburgers or hot dogs must be the least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepared food such as subs or deli trays should be kept in a separate cooler. On a cold or pleasant day, food can be left out for about two hours before it is to be consumed or thrown away. On a hot day (above 90 degrees Fahrenheit), limit that time to one hour.
- Safety and sanitation
If you’re planning to grill, it’s a good idea to come prepared with the essentials (yes, including the prized “Grill Master” apron). It’s also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher handy in case something goes wrong. Bring a plastic container to store dirty kitchen utensils when you are done cooking and serving guests. Check these out safety tips for grilling for more useful ideas.
To keep your food station clean, we recommend having plenty of paper towels, hand sanitizer and garbage bags on hand. Paper towels carry less bacteria than cloth towels, especially after handling raw and undercooked food. Hand sanitizer should be available before preparing food or going through the food line. And finally, trash bags keep your tailgate clean and your neighbors happy.
We know there’s an elephant in the room… how about drinks for adults? Pre-game rituals often include drinks. Before participating, it is important to identify a designated driver. By doing so, you eliminate the possibility of one disabled drivers get behind the wheel. In some cases, tailgating can turn into an all-day or evening event; encourage tailgate partygoers to have food between drinks and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Again, it is necessary to make transport arrangements before you arrive.
After the fun and festivities, make sure your tailgate area is clean and trash is disposed of in the designated area. Do a survey about your car. Make sure there are no cans, bottles or other objects that you can run over that could cause damage to your vehicle. Also, there will likely be traffic when you’re exiting the tailgate, so it’s important to drive carefully when leaving the parking lot.
At Erie Insurance, our promise is simple: to be there when you need us. Whether it’s tailgating before the big game or the ride home afterwards, you can trust us to provide the protection you deserve – at a price you can afford. Contact us today to learn about car insurance from ERIE.