Driving in Texas can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important to be prepared and informed before hitting the open road. The Lone Star State is known for its vast landscapes, diverse cities, and extensive highway system. Whether you’re a Texas resident or a visitor planning a road trip, here are seven things you need to know before driving around Texas.
1. Buckle Up for Safety
Safety should be your number one priority when driving in Texas. The state has strict seat belt laws, requiring all passengers, including those seated in the back, to wear seat belts. Not only is this a legal requirement, but it’s also essential for your safety. Additionally, Texas law mandates that all children below eight years old should be secured in an appropriate child safety seat.
2. Prepare for Long Distances
Texas is enormous, covering approximately 268,581 square miles, making it the second-largest state in the United States. This vastness means that traveling between cities and attractions can involve long distances. When planning your route, take into consideration the time it will take to get from one destination to another, ensuring you have plenty of breaks and fuel stops along the way.
3. Be Mindful of Speed Limits
Texas is infamous for its high-speed limits, with certain areas having maximum speeds of 85 mph on designated highways. However, it’s crucial to adhere to the speed limits posted. Law enforcement actively monitors speed limits and enforces them strictly. Pay attention to speed limit signs and adjust your driving accordingly, ensuring your safety and avoiding any unnecessary tickets or fines.
4. Expect Heavy Traffic in Cities
While Texas is known for its wide-open spaces, major cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin can experience heavy traffic congestion during peak hours. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the city’s traffic patterns and plan accordingly. Consider using alternative routes or avoiding the busiest times of the day if possible.
5. Watch Out for Wildlife on the Roads
Texas boasts a diverse range of ecosystems and wildlife, which means encounters with animals on the road are not uncommon. Keep an eye out for deer, wild boars, or even armadillos. Wildlife is particularly active during dawn and dusk, so exercise extra caution during these times. If you encounter an animal on the road, reduce your speed and avoid sudden maneuvers that may endanger yourself or others.
6. Stay Hydrated and Stock Up on Supplies
Texas can get hot, especially during the summer months. It’s important to stay hydrated, particularly if you’re traveling long distances. Carry bottled water or a filled reusable water bottle with you at all times. Additionally, keep a stock of essential supplies, including a spare tire, first aid kit, flashlight, and snacks, to ensure you’re prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.
7. Explore the Quirky Roadside Attractions
Texas is filled with unique and quirky roadside attractions that are worth exploring during your road trip. From giant cowboy boots to larger-than-life statues, these attractions add an element of fun to your journey and are perfect for memorable photo opportunities. Research the attractions along your route beforehand and plan some pit stops to break up your drive and add a touch of whimsy to your trip.
As you embark on your Texas road trip, keeping these seven things in mind will make for a safer and more enjoyable experience. By being prepared, adhering to traffic laws, and embracing the uniqueness of the Lone Star State, you’ll have an incredible adventure on Texas roads. So buckle up, hit the road, and get ready to make lasting memories in the great state of Texas!