The DPS alerts motorists to winter safety measures | the mountaineer

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The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reminds Texans that freezing rain, ice and snow can pose major risks to drivers and pedestrians and urges residents to exercise caution in such conditions.

DPS encourages everyone to take proper winter weather safety precautions. This includes checking the battery, windshield wipers, tire pressure, tire treads and fluid levels in their vehicles, as well as properly lubricating door and trunk locks to prevent them from freeze.

DPS offers the following tips for staying safe on the road this winter:

  • Monitor local weather broadcasts and check the latest weather conditions from the National Weather Service before hitting the road.

  • Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain or snow is forecast and monitor road conditions by visiting Drive Texas or calling (800) 452-9292.

  • If you must drive in bad 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.

  • On icy roads, drive slowly and increase the distance between your vehicle and others, as you may need more space to stop.

  • Do not use cruise control.

  • Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.

  • Be aware that ice accumulates on bridges and overpasses before drivers see it on the roads, so approach more slowly in winter.

  • Watch for downed trees and power lines. If a stop light is off, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

DPS also offers the following tips to protect you and your home in all seasons:

  • Use an all-hazards weather radio to get up-to-date warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information.

  • Sign up to receive calls or texts from your local emergency notification system.

  • Insulate outdoor faucets and pipes near exterior walls.

  • Make sure furnaces, heaters, fireplaces and woodstoves are clean, well ventilated and in good working order.

  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from walls and combustible materials, including furniture and bedding. Turn them off when you are away or sleeping. Also make sure that the heaters cannot tip over and that the cord is not damaged.

  • To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never operate a generator or other fuel-powered device inside a house, garage or other enclosed space. The odorless, colorless gas is deadly and is produced whenever fossil fuel is burned. Sources include motor vehicle engines, generators, and combustion 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 medicine.

Drivers are also encouraged to keep the following emergency supplies in their vehicles:

  • Blanket or sleeping bag;

  • Extra clothes, gloves and a hat;

  • Cell phone, radio, flashlight, extra batteries and phone charging cord;

  • First aid kit and pocket knife;

  • High-calorie, non-perishable foods and bottled water;

  • A bag of sand or kitty litter to provide tire traction;

  • Windshield scraper, tool kit, jumper cables, tow rope and a shovel; and

  • Jumper cables.

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


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Susan W. Lloyd