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Tailgating With Smaller Vehicles

By Insurance.com Posted : 09/25/2008

Football season is once again underway, and with it comes tailgating. Whether it's a high school, college, or professional game, many people love to have a tailgate party before or after the game. Some people even think it's better than the game itself. With many drivers in the U.S. shifting to smaller cars, what does this mean for tailgating?

Tailgating Vehicles
Many dedicated tailgaters have vehicles especially for tailgating. These are usually larger, second-hand vehicles. If you are one of these people, you may want to review your insurance needs for your tailgating vehicle. You may find you don't want comprehensive or collision coverage if your vehicle is inexpensive. You could also possibly qualify for a low mileage discount, if you only drive your tailgating vehicle to local games for parties.

However, with tighter finances and higher gas prices, many people have sold these extra, less-efficient vehicles and are taking their main commuting vehicle to the game. Although you can't carry as many friends or as much food in a smaller vehicle, you can still have a good time.

Tailgating Without a Tailgate
You don't need to have a pickup truck, van or people-carrier to tailgate. You just might have to be a little more creative without one. Chances are good that you can fit a bunch of camping chairs, a tent, and a small grill in your trunk. Encourage your tailgating group to bring their own cars or take public transportation. If everyone helps out with the food and supplies, you'll still have room for them when they get there.

Make sure to coordinate with the rest of the group - you want to make sure you all arrive in the right spot at the right time, so you can share the space effectively. Parking together when possible can help, and claiming a spot for your group is another option. If you can't park together, or if reserving a spot is not recommended in your tailgating community, parking next to a grassy area or at the end of a row is a great way to give your group some extra space to spread out.

Hybrid Options
When most people refer to hybrids, they're talking about smaller, very fuel-efficient cars. However, even though they aren't as environmentally friendly, hybrid trucks and SUVs are an option. The Ford Escape Hybrid, for example, can tow a trailer, making it ideal for the tailgating experience. Cadillac is introducing a new hybrid model of the Escalade that gets double the city mileage of the non-hybrid version, making it a roomy and more efficient choice. It's even possible, and thoroughly humorous, to get a gas or electric motorized cooler you can ride to the game. This way, you can bring beverages to the party in addition to saving gas. You'll probably start a lot of conversations as well, even if you don't intimidate opposing fans. However, use caution if you decide to ride this cooler, because there may be legal concerns.

Safety Tips
More vehicles means more drivers. This also means more designated drivers, so make sure to be clear who is drinking and who is not drinking. You'll need to get everyone home safely, and there's no excuse for leaving people behind. Remember to have numbers for local taxi companies handy, and to be familiar with public transportation options and schedules. If you're in an unfamiliar city, having a GPS device can be very useful. Printing out maps ahead of time, with a list of important numbers and locations can also be helpful. As always, preparation and safety can lead to fun.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

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