Enjoy a safe game day (Credit, Robert Herrera)

Safety comes first, and tailgate parties are no exception. With a little thinking ahead, you’ll have no problem ensuring safety for yourself and your family at a Bucs game. Follow these simple pointers so the only thing you have to worry about is where you’re going to park.

1. Plan ahead.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” Benjamin Franklin said. The best way to keep yourself and your family safe is to plan for any issues that may arise. It takes some time, so set aside a half an hour or so to prepare yourself and your family for a fun, safe tailgate.

Bucs flags fly high (Credit, Amanda Mole)

2. Know where you’re going.

Driving in Tampa can be frustrating and finding your way around Raymond James Stadium can be confusing. It’s worth it to do a little research ahead of time to determine your best driving route and potential tailgating lots. There is a huge variety of lots in and around the stadium that charge anywhere from $5 to $25 for parking. Figure out where you want to go and how to get there to avoid potential traffic hazards. When you get to the stadium, don’t hesitate to ask for a map.

3. Practice sun safety.

The sun can be absolutely oppressive, even late into fall. Wear light, breathable clothes and spray on the sunscreen (SPF 30 is best). It’s also a good idea to find some shade, whether under a tree or under a tailgate tent. Don’t forget about protecting your eyes — wear sunglasses or a hat until the sun goes down.

It’s a Bucs Life (Credit, Amanda Mole)

4. Stay hydrated.

Drink up! Even if you keep your eyes and skin safe from the sun, nothing is more important than keeping yourself hydrated. Pack plenty of water and sports drinks — plan on half a gallon of fluids per person. Take 4-ounce sips throughout the day to keep your body running efficiently.

5. Drink responsibly.

Enjoy your beer and sangria, but don’t go overboard. First of all, alcohol and heat don’t mix well. If you drink too much alcohol, you have an increased risk of dehydration. Secondly, in the unlikely event of an emergency, you’ll have a hard time keeping it together and thinking clearly. Have fun and party hard, but know when to cut yourself off.

Stay hydrated during the games (Credit, Amanda Mole)

6. Bring a first aid kit.

You’re going to be playing games, cooking over a hot grill and drinking beer — accidents can happen. Bring a first aid kit with bandages, gauzes, disinfectant, ointment, over-the-counter pain relievers and anything else you think you may need. Store it in a safe place so you can find it in a pinch.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.

Amanda Mole has been a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.