Agencies team up for Winter Weather Awareness Day to provide safety tips

Representatives from the National Weather Service, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Department of Public Safety joined for a news conference today at the National Weather Service facility in San Angelo to help area residents prepare for the upcoming winter season.

During the Winter Weather Awareness Day event, the agencies provided information about staying safe at home and on the road in the event of a severe storm.

TxDOT began preparing for winter several weeks ago by testing roadway equipment, stocking supplies and updating emergency contact lists. Snow plows, material spreaders and vehicles are ready for maintenance crews to respond if a winter storm moves into the area.

The safety of the traveling public is TxDOTs highest priority, and crews respond to snow and ice events as quickly as possible. The most heavily traveled roadways, such as I-20 and other major highways, are treated first. Crews move on to secondary and low-traffic routes once the most critical areas are addressed.

Drivers can do their part to keep the roads safe during winter weather by following a few precautions:

During a snow or ice storm, delay all travel until the weather improves, if at all possible.

Maintain and winterize vehicles. Check fuel, battery, tire pressure and treads, oil and antifreeze levels. Make sure brakes, lights, heater and windshield wipers are working properly, and place an ice scraper in the glove box.

Check weather and road conditions before driving. Statewide highway conditions are available at www.drivetexas.org or 800-452-9292.

If you must drive during inclement weather, use caution when driving over bridges and overpasses, which can freeze quickly.

Reduce speed, increase following distance, accelerate slowly and never use cruise control on wet or icy pavement. Be patient even a short trip will take longer in inclement weather.

For more winter weather safety tips, see www.txdot.gov/driver/weather/winter-driving.html.