by Candace Lightner
Tailgating parties can be dangerous but here are some tips on how to keep people from drinking, drugging and driving.
I only went to one football game as an adult and that was in Dallas when I was invited by the National Association of Broadcasters. The Dallas Cowboys were playing the Washington Redskins and it was a good thing we sat behind glass enclosed bleachers. It was the first time I ever had eggs and tomatoes thrown at me, all because I was in a designated area that showed support for the Redskins. Frankly, I didn’t care who won.
We didn’t have a tailgating party. Our party was in a room inside the stadium after the game and would you believe, I co-hosted the event with OJ Simpson and Mike Love from the Beach Boys. This was long before the OJ Simpson trial and I remember how excited we were that he posed for a picture with my son who was very young at the time. That was then.
Tailgating parties weren’t that big a deal then but they are now. They are no longer confined to just football games and they can be both before and after a game. Alcohol and food are the main focus at tailgating parties and there are numerous stories of tragic deaths that resulted from the kind of irresponsible behavior exhibited at these events or afterwards. However, they are here to stay so here are some tips on what you can do to ensure that you, your friends and loved ones, have a good time and survive to enjoy the game and, in fact, the whole season:
- Understand the laws in your state and any local and county ordinances
- Know the venue policies where you are partying. Some stadiums do not allow alcohol in the parking areas. Check the stadium rules ahead of time by going to their website.
- If you must drink alcohol, provide alternative beverages for those who are underage, non- drinkers or those who have already had more than their share.
- Do NOT serve alcohol to minors. Card if you are in doubt.
- Make sure there is plenty of cold water to drink so thirst is not an excuse to drink booze.
- Make sure your cell phone is charged in case there is an emergency such as someone drinking too much and needing a taxi ride home
- Have plenty of food so that people are not drinking on an empty stomach
- Do not supply drugs, even prescription drugs for someone who forgot to bring their migraine medicine. The combination of drugs and driving is deadly and the combination of drugs, drinking and driving is even more so.
- Do not buy into the frequent line of “I’m OK, I only had two beers.” They probably had far more. All booze is intoxicating.
- Take the number of your local taxi service with you in case you need to call a taxi for yourself or a friend. Don’t try to bluff your way into driving. Be smart. Save a Life and don’t drive.
WHEN SHOULD YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO INTERVENESM?
- If you suspect someone of taking drugs, such as pot, don’t let them drive despite their ridiculous boast of “driving more safely” after a few hits. There are too many innocent victims of that kind of stupid and irresponsible thinking.
- Do not allow someone to drive after having too much to drink. If you are the least bit concerned, call a taxi. If you are having a difficult time telling them they cannot drive, engage someone they respect to help you. Depending upon the laws in your state, you may be held legally liable if they are involved in a crash as the result of drinking at your party.
- Designated drivers are great. Just make sure they do not drink alcohol. If you see them drinking even one drink, call a taxi.
- If you see someone exhibiting some of the signs of too much alcohol such as swaying, talking too much, slurring their words, constantly losing their train of thought, inappropriate behavior, bloodshot eyes, etc. then take their keys. Have the Courage to InterveneSM, it may save a life.
- If you are the host stay sober, someone’s life may depend upon your sobriety.
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