6 Must-Haves for the Perfect Tailgate

Are you ready for some tailgating? That’s right. It’s football season once again and the perfect time of year to grab the barby, load up the truck, and head out to a game. If you’re a college ball fanatic or an NFL junkie, you probably already know a thing or 2 about throwing the perfect tailgate party. But if you happen to be a rookie, we put together a few tips to help you out with the fundamentals of this time-honored tradition.

1. Vehicle

The ultimate tailgating vehicle is a truck or a van, something with a back or side door. Show your spirit by investing in some car flags, a license plate frame, or magnetic emblems from your favorite team. And don’t skimp on the maintenance (like oil changes, checking fluid levels, and tire pressure). You don’t want to miss the big game just because you had a flat tire.

2. Foods and drinks

This is probably the single most important item. It’s also what your friends will want to know about. Food can be anything you like, but finger foods work best (leaving you a free hand with which to hold your beverage).

Some classic tailgate foods are brats, burgers, dogs, ribs, chili, dip (guacamole is always a favorite), cookies, brownies, and cake, but you can find almost anything imaginable if you stroll around the parking lot. Sautéed shrimp and deep-fried catfish, anyone?

And it’s hardly a party without beer, wine, or the makings of your favorite cocktail. But be sure to choose a designated driver beforehand, drink responsibly, and bring nonalcoholic beverages along for the kids and driver. And, of course, a cooler with plenty of ice.

3. Supplies

Not sure about what you’ll need? A quick list includes matches, plates, napkins, cups, plastic utensils, foil and plastic bags, garbage bags, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and condiments. Now, of course, there are those who go all out and use real knives, forks, dishes, and linens, but that’s your call.

4. Tools

The grill can be anything from a tabletop to a big standup charcoal grill or one that attaches to the trailer hitch of your truck. Whatever type of grill you have, don’t forget fuel (propane or charcoal depending on your grill).

You’ll also need cooking tools: a sharp knife, spatula, tongs, maybe a wooden spoon, serving spoons, and a cutting board. Don’t forget the corkscrew or bottle opener (or both).

5. Entertainment

To keep the pre-game party jumping, pack a flat screen TV (just kidding, but yes, we’ve seen it), music player with speakers, and a football or bean bags for tossing. The important thing is to choose whatever fits your style.

6. Comfort

Bring stacking resin or folding camp chairs (preferably with cupholders), a pop-up tent (to protect against sun or rain), and folding card tables.

So there you have it. Check online to find out when your local stadium opens and make sure you know the rules. Call your friends and agree on how to meet up. Maybe you want to caravan to the park so you know you have enough adjoining spots.

The bottom line: get your game gear on, your supplies packed, and head on out. And don’t forget to enjoy the game!

Tailgating pro? Tell us your tips.

Related link

Accessorize with the finest items from your favorite team.

Expert Insurance Advice (No Consultation Fees)

If you have a plumbing question, you see a plumber, right? With questions about the law, you talk to a lawyer. And if you have insurance questions, come straight to Esurance. Right?

In a world saturated with (mis)information, it can be surprisingly difficult to find the answers you need. We get that. But when it comes to insurance — and car insurance especially — we’ve worked hard to fix the problem.

You see … at Esurance, we’ve got experts galore and, collectively, more industry expertise than you can shake a stick at. So when it dawned on us, “Hey, why not make life easier for everyone by putting all that knowledge to good use,” that’s exactly what we did.

Where to get expert insurance advice

So, if you’re looking for expert advice and information on gap insurance, rental car coverage, or 100 other insurance-y topics, you’ve come to the right place. Or rather, if you visit our insurance resources page, you’ll be in the right place.

Check it out for all the insurance- and driver-related info you’ll (likely) ever need. Stay as long as you want and get answers to all your questions. We’ll never send you a bill or charge a consultation fee (unlike some experts). Insurance expertise is always on the house at Esurance.

Related links

Car insurance myths
Insurance learning center
Car insurance tips for your state
Auto insurance glossary

How to Drive in Rain: 5 Quick Tips (and One Suggestion)

It’s November and that means November rain. No, not the Guns N’ Roses kind, but the kind that creates puddles and slick roads and makes driving more difficult.

Of the 6.3 million car accidents that happen on average each year (hello, reason #1 to get car insurance), 1.5 million are weather-related. In other words, adverse weather conditions like rain, fog, and snow contribute to 24 percent of all crashes. And 75 percent of those weather-related crashes happen on wet roads.

All of this is to say that rain makes driving dangerous. To help you avoid the rainy-day car-accident blues, here are 5 quick tips.

How to drive in rain

  1. Go slow. Seems like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. Speed limits are designed for normal driving conditions, when roads are nice and dry. On rain-slick roads, you’ll need extra braking distance and plenty of time to react.
  2. Keep your headlights on low beam. High beams actually reflect off rain, fog, and snow, making it even more difficult to see. Using your low beam headlights, however, will help increase visibility (and make you more visible to other drivers) whether it’s day or night.
  3. Drive in the middle lane. Driving through even a few inches of water could cause potential engine damage and hydroplaning. Since water tends to pool along the sides of the road, use the middle lanes when you can.
  4. Maneuver lightly. Whether you’re steering, braking, or turning a corner, a light touch will help you stay steady in slippery conditions.
  5. Don’t cruise (control). Using cruise control can save you money, but on rainy days it can increase your chances of losing control and hydroplaning.
  6. Wear polarized sunglasses (if it’s daytime). Rumor has it that wearing polarized sunglasses when driving in the rain can help increase visibility. Because polarized lenses reduce glare, they help neutralize the scattering of light (reflected glare) caused by weather conditions like rain or fog.
    We haven’t tested this one to really see if it works, but if you have let us know.

And if you should happen to skid or temporarily lose control, don’t slam on the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want to go.

Related links

Some more tips for driving in the fall

Weather’s impact on car accidents

How to Drive During a Flood

The Science of Skidding (and How to Avoid It)