The Texas Department of Public Safety offers the following tips to help Texans arrive at their destinations safely for the Thanksgiving holiday:
- Do not drink and drive. Make alternate travel plans if you are consuming alcohol.
- Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Show the same courtesy to fellow drivers who are stopped on the side of the road. This year alone, between Jan. 1 and Nov. 12, DPS issued 11,165 warnings and citations for violations of this law.
- Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.
- Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped. If you’re using a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it, so you can keep your eyes on the road.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.
- Don’t drive fatigued – allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
- If you see a road hazard or something suspicious, report it to the nearest law enforcement agency.
- On multi-lane roadways, use the left lane for passing only. Not only is it courteous and avoids impeding traffic, Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right and to use the left lane for passing only (when posted).
- Don’t cut in front of large trucks, and try not to brake quickly in front of them. They can’t maneuver as easily as passenger vehicles and pickup trucks.
- If you can Steer It, Clear It: If you are involved in a non-injury crash and your vehicle can be moved, clear the traffic lanes to minimize traffic impact. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane increases traffic congestion and leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm or a secondary wreck. On some highways, if you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so, it’s against the law.
- Before your trip begins, make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and always double check to make sure all cargo is secure.
- Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. In inclement weather, use extra caution. For Texas road conditions, visit drivetexas.org.
Source: Texas Department of Public Safety
EYE WHAT YOU FRY
Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. When you fry foods, you increase the risk of a cooking fire. Keep in mind the potential dangers of deep frying a turkey:
- Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot oil across a large area.
- Use your turkey fryer only outdoors on a sturdy, level surface well away from things that can burn. Make sure to have a “3-foot kid- and pet-free zone” around your turkey fryer to protect against burn injuries.
- An overfilled cooking pot will cause oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside. Determine the correct amount of oil needed by first placing the turkey in the pot with water.
- A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed before you fry it.
- Turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire. Check the temperature often with a cooking thermometer so the oil won’t overheat.
- The pot, lid and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries.
- Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle these items
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency’s U.S. Fire Administration
SHOPPING SAFETY REMINDERS
The Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority, a division of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, offers these simple precautions to combat theft and keep your holiday shopping season joyous:
- Hide your valuables from plain site. It may be wise to pack a blanket, which can also provide a great cover for gifts when you aren’t able to get home quickly with your purchases. Another tip that’s often overlooked: keep your cell phone cords and other device accessories out of sight. Burglars are willing to break a window or try a door when they see a cord because there’s a chance that a device will be in the vehicle.
- Park in well-lighted areas or attended lots. Car thieves and burglars use the cover of night to avoid witnesses and detection. The same goes for unattended parking lots. If you have to do your shopping after the sun goes down, be sure to park in a well-lit area. Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re alone and it’s late, consider asking the store security to accompany you to your parked vehicle.
- Don’t leave sensitive documents in your car. A car burglar may take your sensitive information to commit identity fraud. Instead of keeping this in the glove compartment of your vehicle, keep it in your wallet or purse.
- Never leave your car running while unattended, even if you’ll only be gone for a minute. Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATMs, etc. Many vehicles are also stolen on cold mornings when they are left unattended to warm up. Leaving your key in an unattended motor vehicle is a crime in Texas.
- Lock your vehicle. While it’s the most obvious bit of advice, reports from specialized auto theft investigators indicate that far too many motorists forget to lock their vehicles. In some areas, investigators report that around half of burglaries and thefts are directly attributed to unlocked vehicles.