In a state as large as Texas, winter driving conditions can vary widely and change quickly. That’s why it’s important for drivers to be prepared for potentially hazardous conditions during the cold weather months.​

As winter approaches, the “Be Safe. Drive smart. provides safety advice for motorists who may be driving in dangerous road conditions. Advice offered includes advice on preparing your vehicle for winter travel, as well as how to drive in various winter weather conditions.

  • Always buckle up – every person, every ride. Wearing a seat belt is one of the best all-weather safety protections.
  • Before setting off, check DriveTexas.org or call 800-452-9292 for road closures and listen to the weather forecast.

Tips for preparing the car for winter trips

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

Tips for driving in winter conditions

  • Slow down and increase the 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 could cause you to lose control on icy surfaces.
  • Brake gently, applying slow, steady pressure to test traction.
  • Approach curves, bridges and shady areas slowly. If you find yourself in a skid, stay calm and keep both hands on the wheel. Release the accelerator, look where you want to go, then head in that direction.
  • Keep a safe distance from snowplows and TxDOT vehicles while they treat roadways.

Tips for driving in fog

  • Use dipped beam headlights and fog lights, if you have them. Do not use high beams (bright lights).
  • Slow down and don’t drive faster than your line of sight. Use windshield wipers and defroster to maximize visibility.
  • Increase your following distance to ensure you have enough room to stop 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 warning lights immediately

Winter weather in Texas can be unpredictable and create dangerous conditions for drivers, especially sleet, ice, snow or fog. Although TxDOT and its teams do their best to keep the roads safe, it is up to drivers to be prepared to handle potentially dangerous conditions during the cold weather months and to take precautions when driving in such conditions. .

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