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National Safety Council, Nebraska State Patrol give tips for driving safely during winter weather

Posted at 6:51 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-16 19:51:50-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — With multiple crashes in the area coupled with winter weather, safety experts are urging drivers to be extra-cautious on the roads.

The number of Nebraska vehicle deaths in December are up 43-perecent from this time last year. The 239 deaths in 2019 is an eight-percent increase from 2018.

"We encourage people to reduce their speed which allows you to increase that stopping distance," said Trooper Keith Bell of the Nebraska State Patrol.

The National Safety Council of Nebraska recommends drivers stay at least six seconds behind cars while driving, no matter what type of car they have.

"Four wheel drive, all-wheel drive vehicles are great but they don't tend to increase the ability to stop," said Eric Koeppe, President and CEO of the National Safety Council of Nebraska.

Safety experts have two pieces of advice for staying safe on the roads. The first is to buckle up and the other is to not text, video chat or look at your phone while behind the wheel.

"The most important thing we can do in the car is drive," said Koeppe. "It's the most dangerous thing we do every day and using the phone adds to that danger even more."

If a driver doesn't feel safe on the road, safety experts recommend drivers to find a rest area or exit to wait it out and to not pull off on the shoulder. Experts say drivers should make sure to take it safe, decrease your speeds and pay extra attention to road conditions.

"This is a shared roadway," Bell said. Whatever you do affects other people and whatever you do could affect other folks."

With the holidays, and holiday parties, coming up the Nebraska State Patrol recommend drivers to drink responsibly and always have a sober driver.