The verb, to tailgate, refers to the practice of driving closely behind the rear fender of a preceding vehicle. In some municipalities in the United States, this action is illegal and punishable by fine. When not driving, the term also refers to closely following someone, such as through a door or gate, where individual passes maybe required. Such practice is commonly banned as evident in the picture on the right.
The term, tailgate party, refers to the practice of engaging in a social drinking and/or eating event that is based out of the back of one's truck, wagon or SUV. Tailgate parties have become popular in the United States as social gatherings events that take place in stadium parking lots before football games. The use of the tailgate party has spread to the pre-game festivities at sporting events of all kinds (e.g. baseball and soccer) and is also used at non-sporting events such as non-sports-related barbecue gatherings. Tailgates can also be furnished with additional accessories like a "Pocket" for storage purposes etc.