Football Has Rules. So Do Tailgate Parties. Here Are the 7 Rules You Need to Know.
You’re ready for the football season. You’ve gorged on the pre-season, and you’ve decided who’s going all the way this year (we’ll check with you later on that).
Are you prepared for the tailgate party season as well? You’ll need a bit more than beer, brats, and briquettes. You’ll need a bit of common sense and a few minutes to plan ahead to avoid some consequences that are a good deal worse than anything that could happen on the field.
Remember that tailgate parties are a legal grey area – under normal circumstances people aren’t allowed to drink outside in parking lots, sitting in pickup truck beds, with car keys in their pockets. That could technically violate physical control laws. But in the spirit of the season, the authorities will look the other way, provided you observe some rules. Here’s what you should do to avoid:
- Have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available. Not just for kids and non-drinkers, but for those who want to switch from alcohol after a while.
- Keep the food coming. We probably don’t need to remind you of this, since one of the points of tailgating is bringing out the barbecue and grilling up a storm, but remember that eating helps slow the absorption of alcohol. It won’t keep you from getting drunk, but it’ll help you pace yourself.
- Be aware of your state’s open container laws. Many states don’t allow a person to open a beer until you are parked in the lot. An open-container citation is better than a DUI, but who needs it?
- Do not serve alcohol to anyone who is under 21. MADD recommends having separate coolers for non-alcoholic beverages. We agree.
- Choose a designated driver for after the game. A designated driver, by the way, is not someone who has drunk less than anyone else. It is someone who is alcohol-free. If you don’t have enough space for all the people you accumulate during the party, make sure you have your rideshare app or the number of a taxi service handy, so you can help them get home too.
- Watch your behavior. Even though tailgating is tolerated, police are watching for people who get out of hand. If you’re obnoxious, too loud or aggressive, if you give drinks to minors, or if you wander away from your vehicle with your drink, you could be breaking public intoxication laws. Don’t spoil it.
- Stop buying beer after the first game quarter. That will give the alcohol time to leave your system, and stadium beer costs too much anyway.
Remember, it’s not necessary to get drunk to have a good time. In fact, a game is a lot more enjoyable if you know what’s going on. Have a great party.