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September 14, 2016

Football Season: Safety Always Wins

Ah yes, football season. I can already smell the nachos and the buffalo wing sauce wafting through the air from the living rooms of American households. I can already taste the

football safety Anheuser-Busch branded beer and I can already hear the light-hearted (and not so light-hearted) trash talking about opposing teams. Football season is a fun time of year for Americans; where NFL teams are picked in pools and the participation in fantasy leagues are high. We Americans love our football, and we love to show it. And who doesn’t love tailgating, right? Grilling delicious meat, having a couple of cold ones, and sitting in your lawn chair just enjoying the hype before a big game. Even if you aren’t that into football (confession: me) it’s still really fun to participate in the exciting football culture. Now you can call me a kill-joy if you want to, but there are some risks associated with the football season culture. For instance, there’s an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents and violations, especially surrounding the participation of tailgating- a football fan’s cherished activity. Here are five facts about football season car wrecks that I hope will help you make good decisions while you’re watching your favorite team pass the ‘ol pigskin:

  1. Tailgaters are significantly more likely to be drunk than others at football games.  Considering all football fans attending games, one out of every 12 leaves the stadium while legally intoxicated. When it comes to tailgaters, however, tailgaters were 14 times as likely to be so impaired by alcohol they wouldn’t be legally permitted to drive.
  2. Many tailgaters and other fans drink enough to be classified as binge drinking.  One in four tailgaters said they’d had five or more drinks, according to ABC. Drinking five or more drinks at once is considered binge drinking.
  3. Fans under age 35 are also much more likely to be impaired when attending a football game at a stadium. Fans within this are group are eight times as likely to leave drunk compared with fans who were older than 35.
  4. Drunk driving accident risks increase significantly when big sports events like Super Bowl Sunday occur. Mothers Against Drunk Driving says 43 percent of fatal crashes on Super Bowl Sunday involve impaired drivers, compared with 31 percent on other normal days.
  5. DUI arrests are higher on days when football games are played.  Department of Transportation data on citations and arrests in one state found 13 percent more DUI arrests on game days. [1]

I know, it’s not something you want to hear. And my intent is not to deter you from indulging in your favorite alcoholic beverage while watching a game (through my own personal research, a shocking amount of things are more fun after a drink or two). But I more-so just want to encourage you to make good choices and be responsible, even when it’s incredibly inconvenient or you’re already “half in the bag” (as my dad would say).

Fear not, my football friends. Here are some safety tips that’ll help you stay safe during tailgating, and other fun, boozy football events.

  1. Plan ahead. Usually you know one or two days in advance when you’re going to tailgate or if you’re going to that Super Bowl party your friends, uncle, mom, or sister is throwing. That gives you enough time to ask one of your non-drinking friends to come with you or plan out ride details that ensures no one is drinking and driving. And if you find yourself a DD, give them some form of payment. It’s just the All-American thing to do. Also, Uber is a cool thing. Use it as a plan B!
  2. Eat well. Most drinkers know this rule…but still fail to do it. Eat before you drink, it’s sets a steadier pace to “feelin’ good”.
  3. Stay over. Before going to the football party, ask if you can stay over should you get to a point where you need to.
  4. Moderation. It’s takes a little bit for alcohol to affect you, so spacing out the time between drinks lets you know where you’re at so you don’t over-indulge.
  5. Not drink. Hey, it’s an option.
  6. Look out for others. Be a good Samaritan by not not letting others drink and drive as well. It’s also just the All-American thing to do.

Chances are, you knew most of these already. I learned these in high school driver’s ed, so I’m sure you picked them up somewhere, too. But still, it is estimated that every two minutes, someone is injured in a drunk driving crash [2]. Please, do your part in preventing that.

In addition to driving sober, here are some additional tips for staying safe during the football season:

There you have it, folks. Just the tip of the iceberg for ways you can stay safe during the football season. Ultimately, go with the age-old piece of advice of trusting your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Additionally, if you have to ask yourself “is this safe?” the answer is probably no.



[1] Marcus and Mack. “Five Facts About Football Season Car Wrecks : Marcus & Mack.” Marcus & Mack. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.

[2] “MADD – Drunk Driving Statistics.” MADD – Drunk Driving Statistics. MADD, n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.

[3] “Safety Tips for Your Next Big Tailgate.” Tailgating Safety Tips for Your Next Party. Century 21 Insurance, n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.

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