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2015-06-04

Obey traffic laws during summer travel

Contributed

Administrators with the Texas Department of Transportation urge drivers to "turn around, don't drown" as flooding continues to be a serious concern in the state.
Rainfall totals have already approached 20 inches in some parts of Texas - and nearly 10 inches in Medina - saturating the ground and setting up the potential for more flooding and possible road closures.
"For many Texas families, the summer will be filled with road trips and recreation, so we want to make sure everyone arrives alive to each destination," said John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director.
"Not only is it important for families to obey all traffic laws when driving, but they also need to keep an eye on the weather and make sure their windshield wipers, turn signals and tires are in proper working order."
With heavy rains continuing around the state, TxDOT reminds drivers to take extra precautions by following these tips:
• If water is covering a road, don't try to cross. As little as six inches of water can float some vehicles.
• It is illegal to remove barricades blocking lower water crossings. Penalties can range from $200 to $1,000 and-or two years in jail.
• Never try to walk, swim or drive through swift water.
• If a vehicle stalls in deep water, leave it and move to higher ground if that can be done safely.
• Turn around; don't drown.
• Always wear a seat belt and never drive under the influence of alcohol. In 2014, there were 37 fatalities on Texas roadways over the Memorial Day weekend. Ten victims were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash and 15 were killed due to impaired drivers.
Additionally, TxDOT reminds drivers to keep their vehicles maintained. As part of its "Drive Clean Texas" air quality campaign, TxDOT offers the "Roadcents" web app to help drivers save money, reduce tailpipe emissions and keep vehicles operating efficiently by driving smart.
At Roadcents.org, drivers can create an account to track vehicle maintenance, get service reminders, calculate savings, find information on the steps to take after a collision or breakdown and locate nearby auto repair facilities and gas stations.
Being well-rested and sharing driving responsibilities also are recommended. Across the state, TxDOT operates 12 Travel Information Centers where visitors can rest, get directions and stretch their legs. The centers are staffed by professional travel counselors who welcome visitors, help with routings and provide information on points of interest, events and road conditions. Internet access, restrooms and picnic tables also are available.
Road conditions and traffic updates are available at DriveTexas.org or on Facebook and Twitter.