This is the Texas Department of Transportation’s highway conditions infor- mation service. Visit drivetexas.org to view an interactive highway map displaying construction areas, closures, weather-related hazards, and other conditions along your route. The website also has options allowing you to see a live traffic feed, view traffic cameras in select regions, and find safety rest areas and Texas Travel Information Centers. The site is both desktop- and mobile-friendly.
Travelers may also call 800-452-9292 for 24-hour automated information or to speak with a professional travel counselor for highway conditions, safety information, and expert tourism recommendations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Standard Time seven days a week.
HIGHWAY REST AREAS
Texas pioneered the concept of miniature parks along roadways—an idea that has been adopted nationally. Today, safety rest areas with restrooms, picnic areas, and scenic turnouts give travelers a break from driving so they can return to the road refreshed and more alert. Remaining in a rest area for more than 24 hours or erecting any kind of structure is prohibited by law.
Pay careful attention to speed limit signs in Texas as posted speeds may vary drastically on numbered highways. Speed limits on Texas highways, especially urban freeways, may be reduced because of their individual operating characteristics. Limits apply to both cars and trucks for both day and night. It’s the driver’s responsibility to adjust to conditions, such as rain and fog.
Many toll roads are cashless or all-electronic, meaning they do not have staffed booths to take tolls. Some toll roads require automobiles to have toll tags, and some may have a pay-by-mail option. If a vehicle without a valid toll tag uses a toll road, a picture is taken of the license plate, and the bill is mailed to the address associated with the plate. The bill may contain an administrative charge in addition to the toll fee. Rental car drivers should check with the rental company regarding the handling of toll fees. On the occasion that a toll plaza is staffed, signs will direct travelers to lanes with the option to stop and pay. Visit txtag.org to view locations of toll roads and for information on payment forms accepted.
Texas Travel Information Centers
The Texas Department of Transportation operates 12 travel information centers for the convenience of the traveling public. Professional travel counselors welcome visitors and provide a wealth of information and suggestions to make every Texas trip safe and pleasant.
Travel counselors supply comprehensive statewide travel publications, plus detailed brochures about points of interest, attractions, and recreational areas. The centers also host safety awareness events and other special events throughout the year.
The centers are open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily and 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The Capitol Visitor Center hours are 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon–5 p.m. Sunday year-round.
All centers are closed on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
For 24-hour highway condition information, call 800-452-9292 or visit drivetexas.org.
More than 500,000 signs across the state mark speed limits, caution areas, stops, and directions. Passing is illegal when there is a continuous yellow stripe on the driver’s side of the center line. Center lines are yellow dashed stripes. White dashed stripes separate dual lanes of traffic in the same direction. Painted or reflective pavement arrows often show approved directions or turns. Arrows pointing toward you or red reflectors indicate you are driving the wrong way on a freeway ramp or one-way street.
AUTO SAFETY BELTS AND CHILD SEATS
All people in a passenger vehicle, regardless of age or seating position, are required to wear a seat belt. Children up to 8 years old, unless taller than 4 feet 9 inches, must ride in child safety seats. Fines may be levied for failure to use safety belts and child safety seats.
A motor vehicle may not legally be operated in Texas unless a policy of liability insurance is in effect. Evidence of insurance must be furnished when requested by a law enforcement officer.
DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS
For more than 35 years, the Don’t mess with Texas® campaign has been reminding motorists to keep our highways litter-free. Don’t mess with Texas is a registered service mark and trademark owned by the Texas Department of Transportation.
Texas is a large and diverse state; climate conditions can vary from one region to another. The state’s terrain includes arid desert mountains, high plains, limestone hills, rich farmland, grasslands, marshes, and deep forests. The state enjoys generally mild winters, though snow and ice can occur in the Panhandle. The summers are generally hot. In July, the average daytime high statewide is almost 97 degrees. Average annual rainfall varies from less than 10 inches in far West Texas to more than 50 inches in parts of East Texas.
Consider making your stay in Texas even more memorable by selecting from some of the more unique options for lodging. You can opt for a room in a historic hotel like The Gage in Marathon or stay in the former Pearl Brewhouse at Hotel Emma in San Antonio. Consider staying in a cabin on the rim of Palo Duro Canyon State Park or a cabin at Sea Rim State Park, but you will want to plan far in advance for a weekend stay. You might even decide to make your whole vacation into a stay at a dude ranch or nature preserve. Perhaps a few nights of luxury at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine or The Woodlands Resort might be preferred.
Read about other interesting places to stay in Texas Highways magazine, texashighways.com. Search under Destinations for a curated list of places to stay in the state’s most popular cities and towns. For a guide on camping, visit texashighways.com/camping.
Additional accommodations are found through traveltexas.com/where-to-stay. Scroll down and click on Hotels, Resorts and B&Bs; Stay at a Texas Ranch; or Texas Campgrounds to explore the options. Then enter the name of the city where you plan to stay to find available options.
You also can call Texas Travel Information Center travel counselors at 800-452-9292 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST daily for suggestions.
Amtrak, the nation’s passenger train service, offers three lines that run through Texas. For information and reservations, call 800-USA-RAIL (800-872-7245) or visit amtrak.com.
These bus companies have scheduled service to and within the state:
Greyhound Bus Lines
Kerrville Bus Co.
Valley Transit Co.
Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Corpus Christi International Airport
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Dallas Love Field
El Paso International Airport
Valley International Airport (Harlingen)
Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport
Houston-William P. Hobby Airport
Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport
Midland International Air & Space Port
San Antonio International Airport
If you are planning to cross into Mexico during your stay in Texas, consider a stop at a Texas Travel Information Center or a Texas border city’s chamber of commerce or convention and visitors bureau for useful tips. Information for crossing into Mexico can be obtained from a Mexican consulate or by going to visitmexico.com. For information regarding the process to enter or reenter the United States, visit cbp.gov/travel.
Before going, learn as much as possible about Mexico and use common sense during the trip. Visit the U.S. Department of State,
travel.state.gov, to see any applicable Travel Alerts and Tips for Traveling Abroad.
WARNING: Possession/importation of any type of firearm, weapon, or ammunition is a felony in Mexico without permission from Mexican authorities and may require special permits from the Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional or Secretaría de Economía.