Football season and tailgating go hand in hand and spending a Saturday or Sunday grilling outside with friends and family before a game is always exciting. But it can also expose you to some risk.

Make your tailgating experience more enjoyable by following a few simple tailgating safety tips before and after the big game.

Respect Food Temperatures

Steak, chicken, and potato salad are tailgating staples, but maintaining proper food temperatures can be easily overlooked. To prevent bacteria from growing, store cold foods in a cooler with plenty of ice and keep hot foods insulated. While an interception can quickly sour your day, a bad pass in nothing compared to food poising.

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.

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.


Too much of a good thing can be bad, and when you’re in the sun all afternoon, dehydration, sunburn, and ever 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.

Check if Coals Have Cooled

After grilling a batch of steaks, some people leave the air and wind to cool down the coals as they 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.

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.

Designate a Driver

Some people may walk out of a game not realizing that they’ve had one too many. Designate a driver who will avoid alcohol is a small action that may end up saving someone’s life.

Remove Debris Before Driving Home

Driving over cans or glass bottles when leaving the game can cause serious damages to your vehicle. It pays to take a quick walk around your vehicle to remove anything that may damage your tires and leaving you waiting for a tow truck. Don’t forget to look under your car, as well.

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.