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Be Safe, Drive Smart

TxDOT has safety advice for driving in hazardous winter road conditions.

In a state as large as Texas, winter driving conditions can vary widely and change quickly. Drivers need to be prepared to handle potentially dangerous conditions during cold weather months.

  • Always buckle up – every person, every ride. Wearing a seat belt is one of the best safety protections in any weather.
  • Before hitting the road, check DriveTexas.org or call 800.452.9292 for road closures and listen to weather forecasts.

Tips for Getting Car Ready for Winter Travel

  • Prepare your vehicle for winter driving by checking its antifreeze, battery, tires, windshield wipers, and lights, including brake lights and blinkers.
  • Let others know your route and expected arrival time, building in extra time for delays.
  • Put together an emergency roadside kit to keep in your vehicle, just in case. It should include water, snacks, blankets, jumper cables, etc.

Tips for Driving in Winter Conditions

  • Slow down and increase the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. It can take twice as long to stop on wet roads and even longer on icy roads.
  • Do not use cruise control, which may cause you to lose control on icy surfaces.
  • Brake gently, applying slow, steady pressure to test traction.
  • Approach turns, bridges, and shaded spots slowly. If you find yourself in a skid, stay calm, and keep both hands on the wheel. Take your foot off the gas, look where you want to go, and then steer in that direction.
  • Keep a safe distance away from snowplows and TxDOT vehicles as they treat roadways.

Tips for Driving in Fog

  • Use low beam headlights and fog lights if you have them. Do not use high beams (bright lights).
  • Slow down and do not drive faster than your field of vision. Use windshield wipers and the defroster to maximize visibility.
  • Increase your following distance to ensure enough room for stopping, and avoid sudden stops.
  • Use the right edge of the road or roadside reflectors as a guide. If you cannot see, pull off the road completely — preferably at a rest area or truck stop — and turn on your hazard flashers immediately.

“Be Safe. Drive Smart.” is a critical component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while on the road, such as going the speed limit, wearing a seat belt, and never drinking and driving or texting and driving. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths.