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Texas Driving Safety Tips: Stay Safe in 4 Seasons

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Texas Driving Safety Tips: Stay Safe in 4 Seasons

From sunny spring trips along Hill Country back roads to winter-storm induced icy roads, driving in Central Texas covers a range of experiences. Each time you get behind the wheel, however, the ultimate goal is to arrive safely at your final destination.

black car driving through the rain and splashing water

Despite the forces of nature, the following Texas driving safety tips for every season can help you (and your loved ones) navigate extreme weather and road conditions.

Spring: Watch for wild weather

As a dynamic weather season, spring is in a league of its own. Late season ice, thunderstorms and torrential downpours can create serious potential road hazards even near your home.

Flash Floods

There’s a reason why you’ve heard, “Turn around, don’t drown.”1 Roughly three quarters of flood deaths in Texas happen in vehicles,2 according to the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection department. With our area’s unique geography, waterways are prone to overflowing suddenly. Consequently, flooding roadways may quickly fill with fast-moving, dangerous currents that rival white water rafting.

Never, ever drive around flood barriers or disregard notices about potential flooding. As little as six inches of water can cause a car to float,3 and water on the road can obscure hazards like washed-out bridges or crossings.

Steer clear of standing water on low roadways during and immediately after heavy rains — even if it means going out of your way or postponing your trip — to avoid being swept off the road or trapped in a sinking car. What appears to be “safe” can rapidly turn treacherous as water from upstream moves swiftly into low-lying areas.


Texas led the nation in major hail events4 in 2023, according to the Insurance Information Institute, with more than 450 storms causing damage.

Meanwhile, the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory reports that small hailstones can fall at speeds up to 25 miles per hour. The largest hailstones can come down at 100 mph or more.5 Even small hail can obstruct visibility on the road and damage your vehicle. Large, fast-moving hail can shatter windshields, sunroofs, and other vehicle glass, creating a serious safety hazard.

Avoid driving when hail is in the forecast. If you’re caught in a hailstorm while driving, it’s safest to pull over — under shelter if possible — and wait it out.


Tornado watches and warnings understandably confuse people, especially those who didn’t grow up near Tornado Alley, a famous stretch of the American heartland known to spawn an abundance of twisters each spring. Yet grasping the difference can help you assess how safe your travel might be.

The National Weather Service — the organization that issues both watches and warnings6— defines a watch as an alert that tornadoes are possible and a warning as notice that a tornado has been sighted or is indicated by radar.

When your area is under a tornado watch — or will be during a scheduled drive time or road trip, rethink your plans. If you’re under a tornado warning, stay off the road because there’s an immediate threat in your area.

If you encounter a tornado while you’re in your vehicle and there’s no safe shelter nearby, Texas Ready says you should get out,7 find a ditch or low spot (not under an overpass), lie face-down, and use your hands to protect the back of your head. Translation: Don’t try to outrun the twister in your vehicle.

Summer: All kinds of extremes

Thanks to the heat, everything can feel a little more intense during Texas summers, from temperatures to storms rolling in from the Gulf Coast. Be prepared to deal with these extremes.

Dangerous heat

An overheated engine is a hassle at the best of times. In the summer heat, especially on a rural road, it can become an emergency.


  • Keep your car’s hoses and cooling system in good working order.
  • Store bottled water securely in your vehicle in case you’re ever stranded, for your vehicle, yourself and your passengers.
  • Never leave pets or people in a car in the summer heat. According to Texas A&M University’s AgriLife Today, Texas is the state where the most children have died from being left in hot cars.8 Even when the outside temperature is only 80 degrees, the interior of a closed car can reach 114 degrees in half an hour.

Tropical storms and hurricanes

High winds, tornadoes, heavy rain and flooding are the biggest risks from hurricanes and tropical storms that reach Central Texas. When this kind of storm is on the way, pay close attention to weather and public safety warnings.

Stay off the roads if you can; if you have a problem on the road, emergency responses may be delayed while crews are stretched thin. After the worst has passed, the Texas General Land Office urges drivers9 to avoid driving into standing water and watch for downed power lines in the roadway.

Fall: Changing seasons, changing hazards

The heat may have eased up from summer’s inferno, but there are new hazards to watch for on the road.

Deer in the roadway

Collisions with deer can happen year-round, but they’re most likely10 from October through December, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Be especially careful from dusk through dawn and the hours around sunset and sunrise — as well as whenever visibility is limited by fog — so you have more time to see and avoid deer on the road.

The National Safety Council also recommends slowing down in rural areas and wooded suburban areas — speed is a factor in deer-vehicle collisions.11 Keep in mind that deer roam together: if you see one, there are probably more in the area, so be aware of your surroundings. If you cannot avoid a deer collision, don’t swerve12 — you might go off the road or hit another vehicle, making the collision worse.

School zones

Fall is also back-to-school time, and human nature can make this a risky time for students. The Texas Department of Transportation listed driver inattention and speed as the top factors in accidents13 in school zones or with school buses in 2022 — accidents that caused 7 deaths, 74 serious injuries, and more than 3,000 crashes.

The Texas Department of Insurance reminds drivers14 to:

  • Observe school zone speed limits
  • Stay off mobile devices in school zones
  • Stop for flashing red lights on school buses regardless of which direction you’re going
  • Watch for pedestrians and bicyclists in and around school zones

Winter: Hard-to-see hazards

Blizzards and heavy snowfalls aren’t typical winter weather events in Central Texas, but ice is — and it can be deadly.

Unexpected ice

Even in situations where surface roads don’t freeze, bridges, overpasses and flyovers can develop a thin coating of ice. On surface streets and highways, sheer layers of hard-to-see “black ice” can cause a sudden loss of control.

When there’s ice in the forecast, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) recommends slowing down15 and avoiding slick-looking areas. If you start to skid, TDI says the best response is to stop accelerating, gently pump the brakes, and steer away from the skid.

If you do crash on ice, stay in your car to reduce your risk of falling or being injured if another vehicle loses control.

The takeaway

Being a careful driver in all seasons can help you keep yourself, your loved ones and your vehicle safer and make driving in Central Texas more enjoyable year-round.

Be sure your insurance is ready for any weather. Contact RBFCU Insurance Agency to learn more about auto insurance coverage options, request a quote* or have us review your existing policy for added peace of mind.

Last updated March 2024

Information in this article is general in nature and for your consideration, not as financial advice. Please contact your own financial professionals regarding your specific needs before taking any action based upon this information.

RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU). Insurance products are not deposits; are not obligations of the credit union; not NCUA insured; and not guaranteed by RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC, RBFCU Services LLC or RBFCU.

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The following sources were accessed February 2024.

1National Weather Service. Turn around Don’t Drown®. 2023,

2“Flood Safety.”,

3“Turn around Don’t Drown.” 2020,

4“Facts + Statistics: Hail.” Insurance Information Institute,

5“Hail Basics.” NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. 2012,

6“Understand Tornado Alerts.” National Weather Service. 2018,


8Schattenberg, Paul. “Don’t Leave Children Unattended in Hot Vehicles.” AgriLife Today - News from Texas A&M AgriLife, AgriLife Today, 23 July 2020,

9“Hurricane Preparedness.” The Texas General Land Office, Dawn Buckingham, M.D. - Commissioner, 27 Sept. 2023,

10“Facts + Statistics: Deer Vehicle Collisions.” Insurance Information Institute,,

12“How to Avoid Collisions with Deer This Fall.” Consumer Reports, 220518,

13“Back to School.”,

14“Back-to-School Traffic Safety.”,

15“Driving in Bad Weather.”,