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DPS Officials Remind Texans to Stay Safe This Winter

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By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

AUSTIN – With temperatures dipping low and thick layers of morning frost covering the ground in many regions of the state, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is encouraging drivers to prepare themselves and their vehicles for the cold weather months.

“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,” explained 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 take steps now to help stay safe during the coming months,” he went on.

The DPS recommends that Texas motorists winterize their vehicles by carrying out tasks such as checking their vehicle’s battery, fluid levels, tire pressure, tire tread and windshield wipers. Door and trunk locks should be lubricated to prevent them from freezing.

Drivers are also urged by the agency to keep a number of emergency supplies in their vehicle at all times, including items such as bottled water, extra clothing, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries and a windshield scraper.

Before driving, the DPS encourages motorists to monitor weather broadcasts for their local area. When traveling on icy roads, cruise control should not be used, and drivers should allow themselves extra time to reach their destinations when driving in inclement weather conditions.

In addition to preparing their cars, the department also reminds Texans of steps necessary to ensure that their homes are safe throughout the winter months.

Pipes near outer walls and outside faucets should be well-insulated. Fireplaces, furnaces, heaters and wood stoves should be thoroughly cleaned before use and only utilized if they are in good condition.

Generators and other devices powered by fuel should never be operated inside homes or in enclosed spaces such as a garage, as this may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Individuals who use fuel-burning appliances or heating systems are encouraged to consider installing a carbon monoxide detector in their home.

The DPS also recommends that individuals with family members or friends whose age or health may put them at greater risk for complications during cold weather should check on these loved ones on a regular basis.

For more information on winter weather preparedness, please visit www.dps.texas.gov.

Sarah Naron may be reached via email at snaron@messenger-news.com.