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Winter weather safety tips for drivers

Posted: 4:05 PM, Jan 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-10 22:05:27Z

With the potential for weather-impacted driving conditions Thursday, the Nebraska State Patrol and the Nebraska Department of Transportation have issued the following safety reminders and recommended preparations:

  • Be aware of current travel conditions .
  • Always wear your seat belt, and never drive faster than conditions allow.
  • Blowing and drifting snow can reduce visibility. Travel only when absolutely necessary.
  • If you must travel, use well-traveled routes and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Let others know where you are going, your route, and when you will arrive.
  • If you do become stranded while traveling, stay in your vehicle until help arrives. Wind chill and freezing temperatures can be life threatening.
  • If your vehicle becomes stuck, run your motor sparingly and keep a window cracked to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide.
  • Carry a red flag or bandana in your car and attach it to the outside to signal for help.

In addition, NDOT is urging drivers take extra caution when encountering snowplows out on the roads. 

  • Slow down as you approach plows. They travel slowly, usually 25-30 miles per hour or less.
  • Stay well behind plows to give you and them plenty of room. When traveling outside of a business or residential district, it is unlawful to follow a highway maintenance vehicle (snowplow, truck or grader) more closely than 100 feet when it is plowing snow, spreading salt or sand, or displaying a flashing amber or blue light.
  • Never pass a plow on the right – snowplows are equipped with “wing plows” which extend beyond the truck itself.
  • Know where plows are and actions they may be taking while they plow snow. 

NSP also encourages drivers carry a "winter weather survival kit," suggesting it include items such as: a first-aid kit, a phone charger, an ice scraper, shovel, small bag of sand, flashlight with extra batteries, blankets or sleeping bags, extra clothing and winter accessories, jumper cables, tow rope, a toolkit, matches, candles, red flag or bandana, high energy or dehydrated foods, and bottled water.