Texas Highway Driving Safety Tips

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Driving Safety Tips for your Texas Road Trip

If you’re planning on packing up the car and taking a trip throughout the Lone Star state, then you have much to look forward to! With beautiful scenery and entertaining activities, there’s plenty to keep you occupied as you coast down the highways and byways of Texas.

But before you head out on your trip, you should review some commonly-forgotten safety tips that could help ensure you have a smooth and safe journey. And don’t forget to take advantage of the many services that the Texas DoT provides for you along the way!

Watch Your Speed

One of the first ways your trip could be dampened is by getting a speeding ticket. Although Texas is home to the fastest highway in America (with a speed limit of 85 MPH), that doesn’t mean you should press your luck on other roads with more common limits. Speed zones are set to ensure that you get where you need to go as quickly as possible, while still driving at a speed that allows you to react appropriately to conditions without endangering your fellow motorists. Most highways have a speed limit of 70 MPH. Stick to that limit and avoid the penalties of a bothersome traffic ticket!

Along those lines, you should also properly observe any Texas sign referring to the passing lane. If you encounter a road sign that reads, “Left Lane for Passing only,” that means your far left lane is reserved strictly for passing – not for driving at a faster speed than other vehicles. If you need to pass a vehicle, you may move into this lane, but be sure to exit it as quickly as safety allows. Similarly, if you prefer to drive at slower speeds, move to the right to allow other drivers to pass you. If you impede traffic in this lane by driving at slower speed, you could be cited and fined up to $200.

Sharing the Road

Texas roads are shared by many different types of vehicles for any number of purposes. Cars, semi-trucks, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians all must work together to obey safety laws and respect one another’s right to travel.

When sharing the road with semi-trucks, it’s important to remember that even though it’s quite easy for you to see them, it’s actually very difficult for them to see you. Trucks have a very large blind spot that you always need to consider. If you can’t see the driver in his side-view mirrors, it’s very likely that he can’t see you, either. Make sure you never cross the path of a truck that is backing up, and if you need a pass a truck on the left, never move back in front of it until you can clearly see both of its headlights in your rear-view mirror.

Take a Break!

It’s probably happened to all of us – we’ve either been on the road too long, or are driving at an hour that’s too early or late for our optimum attention and energy. Either way, we find our eyelids closing, and we have to fight to stay awake and pay attention to the roads.

If you find yourself falling prey to drowsy driving, it’s time to take a break. The DoT provides state-of-the-art roadside rest areas for you to utilize for a few minutes, or a few hours. These areas often have features intended to both relax and revitalize you for the rest of your trip. Some have nature trails, play areas for children, wireless Internet, and large parking lots to accommodate all sizes of vehicles.

A Wealth of Information

While you’re taking your trip, why not receive some education along the way? Texas Travel Information Centers are placed along highways, and are intended to help travelers with route planning, tourist destinations, road conditions, and other helpful information. They also typically offer wireless Internet, a picnic area, and interesting travel literature. Make a pit stop if you see one, grab a brochure, and plan your next destination!

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