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DPS provides safety recommendations before winter weather

On icy roads, drive slowly and increase the distance between your vehicle and others, as you may need additional room to stop.
Credit: Rocky Bridges

TYLER, Texas — The Texas Department of Public Safety is telling Texans that freezing rain, ice and snow can pose major hazards to drivers and pedestrians. They are urging residents to be careful in such conditions.

DPS encourages everyone to take proper safety precautions during winter weather. This includes checking the battery; windshield wipers; tire pressure and treads; fluid levels in their vehicles; and ensuring door and trunk locks are properly oiled to prevent them from freezing.

DPS recommends the following tips to stay safe on the road:

  • Monitor local weather broadcasts and check the latest weather conditions from the National Weather Service before you drive.
  • Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain or snow is predicted, and monitor road conditions by visiting Drive Texas or calling (800) 452-9292.
  • If you must drive in inclement weather, allow extra time to reach your destination. Share your travel plans with a friend or family member so someone knows the route you’re taking.
  • Black ice can accumulate on bridges and overpasses without the driver's knowledge. Approach each road with caution.
  • On icy roads, drive slow and increase the distance between your vehicle and others to allow extra stopping room.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.
  • Watch for downed trees and power lines. If a stop light is out, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

DPS also mentions the following tips to help protect people and their homes all winter:

  • Use an all-hazards weather radio for up-to-date warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information.
  • Sign up for calls or texts from your local emergency notification system.
  • Insulate outside faucets and pipes near outer walls.
  • Ensure furnaces, heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves are clean, well-ventilated and in good working condition.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from walls and combustible materials, including furniture and bedding. Turn them off when you’re away or sleeping. Also ensure space heaters cannot tip over and there is no damage to the cord.
  • To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never operate a generator or other fuel-powered device inside a home, garage or other enclosed space. The odorless, colorless gas is deadly and is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned. Sources include motor vehicle engines, generators and fuel-burning appliances or heating systems. Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
  • Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven.
  • Check on friends and family members whose health or age may put them at greater risk.
  • Stock up on firewood and supplies, including canned goods, bottled water and medication.

Drivers should keep the following emergency supplies in their vehicles:

  • Blanket or sleeping bag;
  • Extra cold weather clothes, gloves and a hat;
  • Cell phone, radio, flashlight, extra batteries and phone charging cord;
  • First aid kit and pocket knife;
  • Insulted, weather-proof blankets;
  • High-calorie, non-perishable food and bottled water;
  • A bag of road salt, sand or cat litter to provide traction for tires and melt ice;
  • Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and a shovel; and
  • Jumper cables.

For more tips on vehicle safety, visit Ready.gov, and check out these winter driving safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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