The long wait of summer is over, and now we’re entering the excitement of football and tailgate season. Tailgating is a great way to bond with friends and other fans before you head into the stadium to watch your favorite team win. However, tailgating mixed with drinking and driving can be lethal. Every 1 out of 12 people leave a stadium intoxicated, and tailgaters are a large portion of those who have overdrank, according to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota.
It’s important to keep in mind that having alcohol at tailgate parities is a privilege and not a right, since it stands in a legal grey area; when it comes to people drinking outside in parking lots, sitting on trucks, with car keys in their pockets, law enforcement looks the other way to not crush the spirit of the season, but this activity technically violates physical control laws.
As you put together supplies and prepare for your tailgate party, here are some tips to help you and your friends stay safe, and still have fun as you avoid binge drinking:
- Provide a good amount of non-alcoholic drinks.
- Not just for the kids, but for the non-drinkers and anyone who’s ready to switch from alcohol to rehydrate.
- Have plenty of food available.
- Eating helps slow alcohol absorption in your system and can aid you in pacing yourself, so you don’t get drunk.
- Know your state’s open container laws.
- Most states are strict in that you’re not allowed to open an alcoholic beverage until you are parked in the stadium’s lot. An open-container ticket isn’t as severe as a DUI, but it’s still an unnecessary charge to your bank account.
- If they’re under 21, don’t give them alcohol.
- Using coolers to separate non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages can help prevent this.
- Have a designated driver in place for after the game.
- Choosing the friend who has drank less than everyone else to drive after the game is poor preparation for safety – it needs to be someone who has stayed alcohol-free throughout the event. If there isn’t enough room for people to ride with you, make sure you access the rideshare app or call a taxi service to help them get home safely too.
- Be conscious of your behavior.
- If you’re becoming too aggressive, loud or wander away from the party with your drink, you may be charged with public intoxication. Don’t ruin the fun.
- After the first quarter of the game, stop buying and drinking alcoholic beverages.
- This will help you avoid spending money on overcharged stadium beer and gives time for alcohol to leave your system.
Parvey & Cavenago know that tailgating is a blast; but just remember, you don’t have to be drunk to have a good time with your friends and enjoy the game. And you certainly don’t need a DUI charge on your record. Drink responsibility and know your limits, but have fun this season!