Those of us in South Texas are fortunate to enjoy mild winters. Our winter weather tends to come in short, severe bursts rather than prolonged winter weather, like we see in the north. To help us prepare for times that we experience extreme winter weather, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has released a safety guide for winter driving. I hope some of these tips will keep you and your families safe as you travel the roads this winter.

DPS advises that you plan for your trip by knowing your route and checking on weather conditions before leaving home. You can follow road conditions by visiting www.txdot.gov or calling the hotline at 1-800-452-9292. It’s also a good idea to thoroughly check your car before leaving. Make sure that your wiper blades, lights and battery are all in good shape.

Another good idea is to keep an emergency kit in your car. The recommended items include blankets, a road map, ice scraper, flashlight, water and snacks. This could be helpful if road conditions deteriorate. 

You may also want to change your driving habits in bad weather. DPS advises motorists to slow down. Speed limits are based on normal road conditions, not winter ones. We are also advised to keep a safe distance between cars and use caution on overpasses. Of course, in extreme weather, stay home if at all possible, until the weather improves.