Each year Texans die from accidents caused by ice, snow, or fog. The Texas Department of Public Safety urges motorists to slow down to the conditions of the roadway. Motorists should not assume the speed limit is the safe speed. For road conditions, please go to the Texas Department of Transportation’s website www.drivetexas.org call 1-800-452-9292.
Have a good plan of action when it comes to winter weather:
1) Check the weather forecast before you travel and have a way to receive NWS Winter Storm Warnings
2) Monitor temperatures and visibilities
3) Drive according to the condition of the highway
4) Practice safe fire prevention
5) Assemble a disaster kit
Below are some vehicle safety tips to observe during winter weather
- Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the storm.
- Patchy freezing drizzle or rain is deadly. When the temperature falls below 32 degrees, even a little mist, drizzle, or frost can create slick bridges and roadways. Slow down especially on overpasses and bridges.
- When driving in low visibilities due to dense fog or snow, slow down and use your low beams.
- Fully check and winterize your vehicle before you leave.
- Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Avoid traveling alone. Always drive to the conditions of the highway.
- Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.
- If you become stranded:
- Never leave the safety of your vehicle.
- Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat.
- Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Be sure to keep your exhaust clear of snow as you’re keeping warm in the car.
- Turn on the dome light at night when running the engine.
- Tie a colored cloth, preferably red, to your antenna or door.
- After snow stops falling, raise the hood to indicate you need help.
- Each year people die in house fires and from carbon monoxide poisoning because of faulty heating sources. Be sure to place your emergency heat sources (fireplaces, wood stoves, and space heaters) in a safe place away from curtains and combustible materials.
- Don’t use equipment that can generate sparks outside especially when fire weather conditions are elevated or are occurring.
- Check fire extinguishers and be sure to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- Refuel before you are empty since fuel carriers may not reach you after a winter storm.
A helpful list of disaster kit contents to have for both your home and when you travel is as follows:
- Cell phone, charger, batteries, battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio
- Blankets/sleeping bags
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- A 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person, per day)
- High-calorie, non-perishable food
- Extra clothing to keep warm and dry (One change of clothing and shoes per person)
- Large empty can to use as emergency toilet. Tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes
- Small can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water
- Sack of sand or cat litter for traction
- Windshield scraper and brush
- Tool kit and tow rope
- Battery booster cables
- Water container
- Compass and road maps
- Extra cash
- Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
- Prescription medicines
More information on winter weather safety can be also found at the following links: