Many football fans in Richmond may be heading north to FedEx Field in the coming weeks to enjoy a Washington Redskins game.
The Redskins, our nearest NFL team, have seven more home games left on their schedule, including what promises to be an exciting Monday Night Football showdown with the reigning Super Bowl champ Seattle Seahawks on October 6.
If you are interested, you can check out the team’s full schedule here.
If you plan on going to see a Redskins game or to check out one of our local college football teams this fall – the University of Richmond, for instance, boasts one of the top teams in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and can draw huge crowds to Robins Stadium – we hope you thoroughly enjoy the experience of “tailgating” before the game.
To help you do so safely, Geoff McDonald & Associates offers the following tips:
Pack your cooler full of ice and water.
When you load your vehicle to head to the stadium, make sure you include a cooler that is full of ice and bottled water.
The ice is for more than just keeping your drinks cold. If you are packing food – for example, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad and condiments – the ice will keep the food from spoiling. You don’t want to ruin the experience by getting food poisoning.
The bottled water is to prevent dehydration. After all, through much of the fall, we may still have relatively warm weather. If the game is in the afternoon, you could end up spending several hours under the hot sun in a parking lot.
If you are using a propane gas grill, make sure all of its parts are functioning properly before you bring it to the stadium.
Once you get to your tailgating spot, set up your grill – whether it is gas, charcoal or electric – in a safe spot that is not in the way of passersby, people throwing footballs and (especially) children. You don’t want people to suffer burn injuries or to become sick from smoke inhalation.
Never leave the grill unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. If you use a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are out before you leave your vehicle and enter the stadium or before you head home.
Drink and serve alcohol responsibly.
If you are consuming alcohol, use good judgment. Unfortunately, many people get caught up in the excitement of the moment at football games and drink too much. Stick to one or two drinks. If you are driving home after the game, don’t drink at all and risk getting into an auto accident.
If you are hosting a tailgater, we suggest that you refrain from serving alcohol to your guests.
We can’t stress this enough – never serve alcohol to a minor who may be mingling at your tailgater. It’s not only illegal, but you could end up being held liable if that minor gets into a car accident after consuming the alcohol you served.
Lock your vehicle before you enter the stadium.
Making sure your car is locked is not a matter of personal safety as much as it is a matter of making sure your property is safe. Unfortunately, many people go into a stadium and return to their vehicle several hours later to find that they are the victims of theft. Don’t let this happen to you.
Take a cell phone and survey the stadium.
There is always the possibility that an emergency can arise during the game. Take a cell phone with you so you can be easily reached or call for help. Also, check out the stadium once you enter. Make sure you know where the exits are located and where you can find the ushers or security guards if they are needed.
Drive slowly, carefully and patiently as you exit the parking lot.
When the game is over (and your team has won, of course), you can either linger for a bit in the parking lot to soak in the atmosphere or immediately head for the road. Either way, when you leave, make sure you do so with a heightened sense of caution.
Look before you back up. Drive very slowly through the lot and keep a lookout for people walking in front of or next to your car and other cars pulling out of their parking spots.
Also, don’t be rushed or lose your temper as traffic moves slowly. Simply accept the fact that it takes time for cars to flow out of a stadium parking lot. Relax in the driver’s seat and enjoy the end of what has hopefully been a great day at the game.