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Tips for safer tailgating this football season

If it's autumn in Texas, that means one thing — tailgating season is in full swing once again. No matter which team it is you're cheering on to victory, tailgating before and during the game can be great fun.

Just as with other fun outdoor pursuits, there is a bit of a risk involved with some tailgating activities. Read on to learn how you can have a safer tailgating experience this year.

Practice safe food storage and preparation

No matter what goes on the grill, grill-masters must avoid cross-contamination and food spoiling incidents that can sicken them and their tailgating buddies. Raw meats must be stored apart from other foods that are prepared and ready to eat. When grilling, make sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure your meats reach the proper temperature before serving. Also have handwashing supplies on hand so no contaminants are passed on to unwary others.

Beware of hot coals and grills

Serious burns can arise from tailgaters improperly disposing of their burned coals, as well as mishandling hot grill components. Carry a fire extinguisher in your vehicle that can be quickly accessed in an emergency. Remember to pack all grilling accoutrements like long-handled tongs and mitts to avoid burns on the hands when taking food off and on the grill.

Be aware of impaired and intoxicated drivers

We've all seen them at sporting events. They may be in the stands sloshing their beer onto unsuspecting fans or remain slumped in their chairs in the parking lot, too inebriated to make it into the stadium for the main event. The scary part is that these drunken and drugged fans often try to drive themselves home from the game.

When they do this, they endanger not just themselves but everyone sharing the roads with them. Instead of arranging for a sober ride home with a designated driver, ordering a Lyft or Uber or even taking public transportation, these impaired drivers pose a real threat on game day.

If you wind up injured from an accident with a drunk or drugged driver this season, you should understand that you have rights to seek compensation for your injuries, losses and other damages.

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