The Texas Department of Public Safety encourages residents to prepare for winter weather as the cold weather season begins.
“While we’ve all heard the joke about Texas only having two seasons – hot and hotter – all Texans need to prepare now for the serious threats that the upcoming winter could bring,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Every year, Texas faces the dangers of winter weather conditions, including freezing temperatures, ice, sleet and even snow. Texans are urged to stay informed about changing weather in their area and to take steps now to help stay safe during the coming months.”
Everyone should winterize their vehicles by checking the battery, windshield wipers (including appropriate freeze resistant-fluid), tire pressure, tire tread, fluid levels and lubricate door and trunk locks to prevent freezing.
In addition, here is a list of emergency supplies drivers can keep in their vehicle:
- Blankets/sleeping bags, extra clothing, gloves and a hat
- Cell phone, radio, flashlight and extra batteries
- First-aid kit and pocket knife
- High calorie, non-perishable food and bottled water
- Bag of sand or cat litter to provide traction for tires
- Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and a shovel
DPS offers the following additional tips for staying safe during possible winter weather:
Monitor local weather broadcasts and follow up-to-the-minute weather conditions, at weather.gov.
Purchase an all-hazards weather radio for up-to-date warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information. Sign up for the local emergency notification system.
Make sure vehicles are properly maintained before any trip, and keep the gas tank full.
On icy roads, drive slowly and increase distance required for stopping, and avoid using cruise control.
Watch for downed trees and power lines across roads. If the power is out, treat all intersections as four-way stops.
Allow extra time when traveling in inclement weather. Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain or snow is predicted, and monitor road conditions by visiting drivetexas.org or by calling 800-452-9292.
At home insulate outside faucets and pipes near outer walls. Make sure that furnaces, heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves are clean, well-ventilated and in good working condition. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never operate generators and other fuel-powered devices inside a home or an enclosed space, such as a garage. Make arrangements for proper shelter and an emergency supply of food and water for your pets and livestock. Stock up on firewood and supplies, including canned goods and bottled water. If you will be away from home for a long period of time, set your thermostat to 55 degrees or higher and open cabinets under sinks.
During the winter season, call 211, the state’s free 24-hour helpline, to check on possible community-established warming centers or related services in the area.