Staying Safe When Traveling In Bad Winter Weather

Winter weather advisories are covering most of the state Wednesday and Thursday, bringing ice and blowing snow to a majority of the Cornhusker state.  

With bad weather on the horizon, Cody Thomas with the Nebraska State Patrol says they want anyone who has to be out on the roads to slow down and take their time. "There may be black ice that you can't see from inside your car. So you don't have to drive as fast as the speed limit, drive as fast as the conditions allow."

Thomas says they run into the most problems when drivers don't know what road conditions are like, so he urges people to know what it's like outside before hitting the road. "Take advantage of Nebraska's 5-1-1 system whether by phone, or on online at the website or 5-1-1 has a smart phone app too. No matter how you use it, that will give you up-to-date travel conditions from the Department of Transportation."

The State Patrol is hoping for motorists to stay safe at home, but Thomas says if you head out and get stranded, emergency crews are ready to help. "If it's an emergency situation call 9-1-1. If you don't think it's an emergency situation you can call our *55 number from any cell phone and that will connect you with somebody at NSP who can help." 

The NSP also suggests the following tips for traveling in icy, snowy weather:

  • Always wear your seat belt.         
  • 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.         
  •  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.
  • Be sure to keep a winter weather survival kit in your vehicle as you travel. Some basic items to include are: First Aid Kit, phone charger, ice scraper, shovel, small bag of sand, flashlight with extra batteries, blankets or sleeping bags, extra clothing and winter accessories, jumper cables, tow rope, tool kit, matches, candles, high energy or dehydrated foods, and bottled water.

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