The best advice for winter weather is to remain indoors if at all possible and remain “Weather Aware”. Stay tuned to local weather forecasts for weather advisories, traffic updates, and road closures. Consider a battery or solar powered weather alert or AM/FM radio for your residence to keep you informed in the event of a power failure.
Keep your cell-phone or other media devices fully charged, this may be your only source of information or communication should power outages arise.
If weather predications indicate ice, sleet, or snow leave the mail and newspaper for a later date. Patios, sidewalks and driveways can accumulate hazards that result in trips, slips, slides, and falls.
Regularly check on friends, families, and neighbors to ensure they are protected.
Remember, if you have a history of respiratory illness, e.g. Asthma or COPD, increased movement in and out of cold climate can aggravate your medical condition. – Stay indoors!
If it’s absolutely necessary for you to venture outdoors, dress in layered warm clothing. Protect your head, hands, neck, face, and ears. Wear appropriate closed toe footwear, with nonskid or lug soles that will find traction on ice / snow / or wet surfaces.
Do not leave children or elderly in unattended vehicles during cold weather, as they can act as a refrigerator and can result in sub-freezing temperatures.
Never use your oven, stove, or portable charcoal, propane, natural gas, or gasoline grills or heaters to heat your home or any enclosed area. In addition to their fire hazard, they can generate large amounts of deadly, odorless, colorless, carbon monoxide fumes. Portable generators powering electric heaters also produce carbon monoxide!
If you take prescription medications, ensure you have enough of all medication to get you through the cold spell so you don’t have to go out to refill a needed medication.
Protect your pets by ensuring that they have a warm, safe place to sleep. The best place for a pet is a warm, dry, heated environment.
Do not leave pets in unattended vehicles during cold weather, as they can act as a refrigerator and can result in sub-freezing temperatures.
Ensure your pets have drinking water available, not a frozen bowl of ice!
Pipes may freeze, causing water breaks, leaks, and damage to your home. Protect your home by opening the cabinets under kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow air from your home's heater to warm the pipes under the sink. Never use a propane torch or other heating device to thaw frozen pipes as it can start a hidden fire. Call an expert!
Let faucets drip - moving water freezes more slowly than still water.
Consider having a bag of kitty litter, sand, or commercial deicer available to treat your steps and sidewalks to prevent injuries.
Insulate outdoor faucets and pipes with commercially made insulated protection devices, newspaper, or towels. Remember to disconnect hoses from outdoor spigots.
Know where the water cutoff is for your residence. If reasonable and safe, turn off the water to your property if you begin to see visible signs of a broken pipe. You may be able to reduce damage to your property while you await a plumber.
Protect plants from freezing by covering them with commercial plant-cover fabric, towels, or a light blanket with plastic sheeting on top of it (if available).
Be sure to group plants that are in containers together, and near your home. Remember that soil in containers can get just as cold as the air temperature, and cause the roots to freeze, even if the above-surface leafs survive.
Don't go out until the sanding trucks or other road treatment professionals have had a chance to do their work.
If you must…Know before you go! Check the latest traffic and transit conditions before you hit the road. If traveling outside of a metropolitan area, fill your fuel tank before you depart and refuel whenever your tank drops below half a tank.
Statewide road conditions and travel information is available on the TXDOT toll-free number, 1-800-452-9292. This number provides statewide road conditions and weather information. This information is updated regularly by TXDOT
SLOW DOWN! Posted speed limits are for ideal road conditions. Allow yourself extra travel time to reach your destination; don’t be in a hurry to get where you are going. Arrive Alive! Vehicles, including those with 4-wheel drive, take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement. Increase your normal following distance from 3 seconds to 8 to 10 seconds in icy or snowy conditions.
Plan alternative routes to your destination - Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible as these roadways will be cleared first.
Keep your cell-phone or other media devices fully charged prior to travel, this may be your only source of information or communication.
Keep others informed about your time of departure, route of travel and expected time of arrival.
Keep the name and phone number of at least one local towing service in your car in case you break down or become stuck.
If you do get stuck on the road, stay with your car and contact a towing company or the DPS Stranded Motorist Hotline. This statewide number is for motorist reporting a need for non-emergency assistance. The number is 1-800-525-5555. If cell phone coverage is available, ccustomers of most wireless companies can also dial *DPS (*377) anywhere in Texas to report non-emergency situations.
If your travel / traffic problem is an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
Watch out for “Black Ice” formation. It can form any time the temperature is near or below freezing. Look for pavement that looks dark, wet or like new asphalt. Use caution on roadways that are shaded from the sun or rest in low-lying areas. They may contain standing water that has frozen. All may hide “black ice”.
Be cautious on bridges and overpasses as they will freeze sooner than other parts of the roadway!
If you are involved in a collision as a result of winter road conditions, stay in your car and call for assistance. If the road was too hazardous for your car, it is too hazardous for you to be walking on.
When traveling outside of major metropolitan areas, especially into more rural areas, consider keeping sleeping bags or blankets in your car, along with food and water, in case you are stranded for an extended period. It is easier to stay warm inside a sleeping bag or blanket than heating the whole car! Have a vehicle travel emergency kit available.
In Central Texas, snow chains or cables are usually of limited utility as conditions are rarely achieved to justify their usage. In extreme winter weather conditions a good set of properly inflated mud and snow rated tires usually work as well or better. CAUTION: If conditions exist to warrant the use of snow chains or cables remember to maintain a lower rate of speed as speeds greater than 20 mph may throw the chains resulting in damage to their car, tires, and possibly other nearby objects. In Central Texas, if you think you need chains, you should probably just stay home.