Alcorn, Sage, Schwartz &
Magrath LLP

Tailgaters should use safety precautions this fall

One of the pure joys of autumn is sharing a tailgating experience with family and friends. Whether you are grilling and chilling outside of a National Football League (NFL) sports arena with a few thousand of your team's most ardent fans or are huddled around a dropped tailgate in your local high school stadium's parking lot, the communal fun of tailgating can't be beat.

In fact, it's an annual rite that many sports enthusiasts anticipate with relish. We certainly never want to dampen your enthusiasm for this fall pastime. But we do urge our Indiana readers to remain safe at all times while tailgating. The following tips might heighten the experience and keep everyone safer.

Use sun protection

The calendar might say that it's October, but that doesn't mean that the sun's rays aren't still capable of producing painful sunburns, as well as raise your risk of skin cancer and contribute to premature aging. Slather SPF on all exposed skin before heading out the door, and reapply after a couple of hours or heavy sweating.

Pack a first aid kit and fire extinguisher

These are supplies that you hope you'll never need but should always have on hand. It might not be you but a fellow tailgater who finds themselves in need, and quick access to both can mitigate damages.

If in doubt, toss it out

To avoid the agonizing consequences of food poisoning, never leave perishable food items like cooked meats or mayonnaise-based potato or macaroni salad unrefrigerated for more than an hour in the heat and two hours during cooler weather.

Stay hydrated

Dehydration is not just a summertime concern. People can become dehydrated even on the coldest day of the year if they fail to drink enough water or sports drinks. Soft drinks aren't sufficient and alcoholic beverages can exacerbate the problem, so pick up a case of bottled water for your tailgate.

Choose a designated driver

Alcohol and tailgating may go hand-in-hand, but the devastating effects of drunk driving shatter families and entire communities. There's nothing wrong with having a couple of beers while you grill in designated areas where alcohol use is allowed.

But the problem begins when intoxicated — or even just "buzzed" — drivers climb behind the wheel and drive. Not only could you wind up arrested, you could kill or maim innocent people in your path.

What to do after a wreck with a drunk driver?

If you are unlucky and get into an accident with an impaired or intoxicated driver, the results can be devastating. You could face surgeries and months of grueling physical therapy just to regain a semblance of your former self. In fact, you may never again be the same.

If that is the case, you will need to hold the drunken driver liable for your injuries and other damages.

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