back to articles | March 29, 2023 | Staci Bailey
Categories:   Useful Automotive Information
Top Things to Keep in Mind When Driving to a Sports Venue
Popcorn. Cheers. Goals, baskets, and touchdowns. Live sporting events can be the stuff of lifelong memories. But, before you head off to the arena, it's important to consider safety. You'll want to be cautious and plan in advance before you navigate all of the challenges of driving to a big event. Here are just a few tips to ensure that you make it to and from the game in one piece!
Drive Your Own Car
The arena might offer things like shuttles and bus services for spectators, but it's always better to take your own vehicle if you can. You won't be beholden to however they're operating. Don't assume that owning a car is outside of your budget: Financing options are always available from dealers and insurers. With the right contract, you can be the one in control of your transportation. It's a more convenient way of life, and it's better for safety, too.
Plan for Traffic
Traffic is unavoidable at sporting events. There will be lines, lane closures, re-directed routes, and competitions for spots in parking lots and garages. You can't always prepare for these things in advance, but you can anticipate them and work around them. For example, you can give yourself plenty of extra time to find parking so that you aren't late for the game. You can also plan your route via GPS using exact coordinates so that you don't get turned around by rerouting.
Research the Area
Will you be parking in a garage? Check them out online and learn about their fees, time limits, ID requirements, and general protocols after sporting events. They might run on a staggered system that empties the facility one floor at a time. You'll also want to look at a map and make note of other amenities and necessities by the stadium. Where are the nearest gas stations? Where can you go to get air in your tires or an unexpected oil change? If you're traveling a long way, where are the hotels if you need a break from driving?
This is especially important if you're attending a major event like the Super Bowl. While some people might prefer to stream it on services such as fuboTV either at home or wherever they are, there's nothing like joining 60,000 people and seeing the action in person. Just remember that every single spectator is going to be in the parking lot, too. You'll have to deal with crowds while queuing, parking, and more.
Be Mindful of Tailgaters
Tailgating is a time-honored tradition at sporting events, and it can be a lot of fun! Just pay attention to where everyone is and what they're doing. Some venues will reserve lots to keep tailgaters away from traffic, but others will have a more free-for-all approach, and this can become dangerous. Don't let the pedestrians and their grills become hazards for you as a driver.
Secure Your Vehicle
You'll need to leave your vehicle unattended while you're at the game. Make sure that it's protected in your absence. If you don't already have up-to-date security features like alarms, battery disconnects, and steering wheel locks, it might be time to invest in them. Not only can they give you better peace of mind, but auto insurance companies often have lower rates for well-protected cars.
Be Careful in the Parking Lot
Researchers have identified parking lots as one of the top three most likely places for violent crimes. Reasons include bad lighting, missing or poorly maintained surveillance systems, and the general anonymity of the space that increases the odds of crimes of opportunity. Parking garages can be similarly dangerous with their enclosed and remote facilities. Stay alert when you're coming and going from the sporting venue and its parking areas.
If you have any accessibility needs, you'll want to research those before you get behind the wheel. The venue might have requirements for things like handicapped parking or the use of disability ramps, entrances, or elevators. You might also be advised to arrive very early to avoid the crowds. If you have any doubts about the conditions that you'll face as someone with accessibility concerns, don't be afraid to call the arena directly.
Some vehicles can generate their own Wi-Fi hotspots. Others can tap into free Wi-Fi networks offered by the arena. Some people just shrug and use their data to remain online. No matter what you choose, you'll want to have an active plan for connectivity for things like navigating routes, accessing digital tickets, checking kickoff times, and remotely paying for parking. You should also bring a backup charger to remain powered up at all times.
Create Emergency Plans
No one likes to think about things going wrong during a night out, but it does happen, and it's best to be prepared just in case. Does everyone in your party have everyone else's phone number? Have you picked a rendezvous point just in case you get separated in the crowds? Do you know local emergency numbers? If someone gets hurt, venues such as NFL stadiums, for example, usually have at least one ambulance on standby for spectators. It is good to know about such emergency arrangements beforehand.
Practice Defensive Driving
Defense driving is a good skill to have everywhere, but it can be especially useful around crowded stadiums. You can prevent accidents by staying vigilant, maintaining visibility, checking your mirrors often, and keeping an appropriate distance from the cars in front of you. As always, watch out for pedestrians, too. There will be tons of people milling around the streets, and as a driver, you'll have the duty of care to avoid them.
Try to Stay Sober
Emotions can run high during a sporting event, especially when you throw alcohol into the mix. People can be angry that their team lost and yearn for a fight with rival fans. The easiest way to avoid these hair-trigger confrontations is to try and stay sober yourself: You'll be likely to get riled up because of the drunken behavior of others, and you'll be in a better state for driving home, too. If you do plan to drink, be sure to take a designated driver along. You can then enjoy with your gang without having to worry about driving back safely.
You'll want to be smart about driving to a live sports event, especially if you're going a long distance. Plan ahead and be diligent about safety and security. A little preparation today can ensure that you have a great time at the game tomorrow!