|By Cody Stark, The Huntsville Item, Texas|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
With weather conditions far from ideal for travel with a winter storm hammering the state, the
"Holiday travel can be especially challenging because of congested roadways, added distractions and fatigued or drunk driving -- all of which can lead to tragedy," said DPS Director
Law enforcement agencies will be patrolling the roadways throughout the weekend to promote safety and look for dangerous drivers.
DPS offers the following tips for safe travel during the
--Don't drink and drive. Designate a driver or take a cab.
--Eliminate distractions, including the use of mobile devices.
--Buckle up everyone in the vehicle -- it's the law.
--Slow down -- especially in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.
--Slow down or move over for police, fire,
--Don't drive fatigued.
--Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
--Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before your trip begins.
Motorists can reduce their risk of an accident by knowing some winter weather driving tips and practicing a few road safety habits, such as planning ahead, and being aware of alerts and advisories in your area. Winter road preparedness includes the following:
--Stay tuned to local news, road closures, changing conditions and weather alerts.
--Check online highway conditions information at www.DriveTexas.org.
DriveTexas is mobile friendly and a great tool that offers real-time road conditions, traffic and weather feeds. Travelers can also call TxDOT's highway conditions line at (800) 452-9292 for routing and trip-planning information.
Another thing people need to keep in mind during
"The main thing people need to remember is to pay attention to what you are doing," said
Waldo also said to keep a fire extinguisher readily available in the kitchen. Have a 3-feet radius around the stove and if there are children in the house, put pots with handles on the back burners and turn the handles in a position kids cannot reach them.
"Stay focused when cooking," Waldo added. "You also need to make sure you have working fire alarms in each room and that you have at least two ways to exit your home in case a fire does break out."
--Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
--Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
--Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.
--Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
--Keep the floor clear so you don't trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
--Keep knives out of the reach of children.
--Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
--Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children -- up high in a locked cabinet.
--Never leave children alone in room with a lit a candle.
--Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Frying has also become a popular method of cooking turkeys during the holidays. Here are a few more safety tips to remember:
--Always use a turkey fryer outdoors, away from anything combustible or flammable.
--Never use a turkey fryer in a garage, under a shed or on a wooden deck.
--Always place turkey fryers on a flat surface to reduce the possibility of tipping over.
--Never leave your fryer unattended.
--Never let children or pets near the frying unit.
--Do not overfill the pot. Follow manufacturer's guidelines.
--Be sure your turkey is thoroughly thawed before placing it into the hot oil.
--Use oven mitts to prevent burning your hands.
--Have a portable fire extinguisher handy or ready to use if needed. Dial 911 if there is a fire.
--If the weather is forecasting rain or snow, consider scrapping the entire frying option, as water and hot oil do not mix.
(c)2013 The Huntsville Item (Huntsville, Texas)
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