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Winter weather driving tips

Driving in bad weather conditions

As a cold front with rain and possible snow moves over the Highland Lakes, the Texas Department of Public Safety is asking drivers to be careful on the roads. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

With the National Weather Service issuing a Winter Storm Watch for Burnet and Llano counties from noon to midnight Thursday, Dec. 31, officials are urging drivers to be careful.

“With a cold front expected to bring winter weather to parts of the state this week, the Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding everyone to take precautions now to prepare for any freezing rain, sleet, snow, ice or other wintry mix that may impact their area,” DPS officials stated.

On Wednesday, the weather service issued the watch in lieu of a “deep upper level trough and strong cold front” that will bring winter weather to the area.

“The winter weather will begin as mix of rain and sleet around midnight Wednesday and then change to mainly snow overnight into Thursday morning,” it stated. 

The watch covers a wide swath of the Hill Country and southern Edwards Plateau as well as Burnet, Llano, and Gillespie counties.

“Highest snow and ice accumulations are forecast northwest of a line from Mountain Home to Burnet,” the weather service stated. “Significant accumulations are not currently expected in the Fredericksburg and Marble Falls area.”

The DPS is asking drivers to monitor the weather and check conditions from agencies such as the NWS. People can also monitor road conditions by visiting Drive Texas.

Other tips the DPS offers for staying safe on the roads during the winter are:

  • Be aware that ice accumulates on bridges and overpasses before drivers see it on roads and highways, so approach them more slowly in winter weather.
  • Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain, or snow is predicted.
  • If you must drive in inclement weather, allow extra time to reach your destination. Share your travel plans with a friend or family member.
  • On icy roads, drive slowly and increase the distance between your vehicle and others as you may need increased room to stop your vehicle. Do not use cruise control.
  • Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.
  • Watch for downed trees and power lines. If a stoplight is out, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

The agency also recommends people keep the following emergency supplies in their vehicles:

  • blanket or sleeping bag
  • extra clothes, gloves, and a hat
  • cellphone, radio, flashlight, extra batteries, and phone charging cord
  • first aid kit and pocket knife
  • high-calorie, non-perishable food and bottled water
  • bag of sand or cat litter to provide traction for tires
  • windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope, and a shovel
  • jumper cables

Other safe driving and vehicle safety tips are available at Ready.gov and the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration

editor@thepicayune.com 

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