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NSP looking for stranded motorists as cold weather leaves vehicles broken down on roadways

Posted at 10:11 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 23:24:39-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Roads conditions in Omaha haven’t been too icy over the past few days, but the Nebraska State Patrol said the record cold temperatures are still leaving some drivers stranded.

3 News Now reporter Jessika Eidson went out with the NSP on Tuesday to give you a firsthand look. She encountered several abandoned vehicles, as the NSP searched for potentially stranded motorists.

“Our biggest fear is that we’re going to have somebody out there that either doesn’t have a cell phone and can’t call for help or we’re not able to locate them," said Capt. Matt Sutter with Troop A. "And in conditions like these, that can be pretty detrimental to someone’s safety.”

From just 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nebraska State Patrol assisted 64 motorist in the Omaha area.

Some drivers may not realize just how much cold weather can affect their vehicle. For every 10 degree drop in temperature, your tires will lose one pound of pressure.

Gas mileage can drop as low as 24% for gasoline cars. This is about 3-4 miles per trip. Hybrids can see their fuel economy drop up to 34%, while EVs fuel economy can drop up to 41% in cold weather.

If you do find yourself stranded on the side of the road, the Nebraska State Patrol said stay in your vehicle. Not only is this going to help them find you more easily, but you are going to need the shelter from these record-breaking temperatures and the wind that is coming along with it.

If you are using your vehicle to stay warm, and you’re keeping your vehicle running, they say make sure you crack your window to get a little bit of fresh air and avoid any carbon monoxide poisoning.

The patrol also said drivers should share their planned routes with someone and dress for the weather.

Along with stranded motorists, the patrol also saw nine crashes in that 12 hour span, in part due to the planned, rolling blackouts that were turning off traffic signals in some areas.

The patrol said drivers should also be aware that cold weather can cause more cracks and potholes on roadways.

If you are in need of help, you can reach the Nebraska State Patrol at *55.

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