AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding Texans to take extra precautions and stay safe as we officially kick off summer today, June 21. Rising temperatures and increased travel can create additional safety concerns over the summer, particularly with extreme temperatures increasing the risk of heat-related injuries or deaths. Despite rain that has cooled much of the state this week, heat indices have already hit 100 degrees and above in many parts of Texas, and will continue to do so throughout the summer.
"Safety is always our first priority at DPS, and summertime presents our state with unique challenges," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "School is out, families are traveling, and temperatures are on the rise. Everyone can do their part to prevent senseless tragedies this summer by staying hydrated in the heat and using extra caution, as well as obeying traffic laws while on the road."
Rising summer temperatures create greater safety concerns, including the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you start feeling ill, immediately move to a cooler area and slowly drink fluids. Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day and, if possible, avoid outdoor activity during the hottest parts of the afternoon.
Warmer weather also places children and pets at greater risk of injury or death if left unattended in a vehicle. Temperatures inside a car can rise more than 20 degrees in only 10 minutes. Even with an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Leaving windows partially rolled down does not help. Children and pets should never be left unattended in a vehicle. (For additional information, visit the DPS website.)
Additionally, with school out for the summer, drivers should be aware of children playing near roadways and use caution while driving in neighborhoods, as well as near parks and playgrounds.
As road travel increases this summer, DPS reminds everyone to stay vigilant and practice safe driving habits. DPS offers the following tips for enhancing safety on our roads throughout the summer:
- Do not drink and drive. Make alternate travel plans if you are consuming alcohol.
- 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 using a portable wireless device to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it's the law.
- Slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS and Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it's the law. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.
- Drive defensively, as increases in travel may present additional challenges.
- Don't drive fatigued – allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- If you see a road hazard or if you observe anything suspicious, report it to the nearest law enforcement agency.
- 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 the event of inclement weather, use extra caution on roadways and be aware of your surroundings. For road conditions in Texas, visit Drive Texas.
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