In a press release Wednesday, the Nebraska State Patrol and Nebraska Department of Roads offered a few safety tips:
• Always wear your seat belt.
• Never drive faster than conditions allow.
• Never use cruise control in wet, slick, or snow packed conditions.
• Increase following distance, so that you can react to other vehicles around you.
• Drive with your headlights on and make sure all vehicle lights and windows are clear of snow.
• Travel during daylight hours and use well-traveled routes, giving yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
• Let others know where you are going, when you will arrive, and what route you will be taking.
• If you do become stranded while traveling, stay with your car until help arrives. Wind chill and freezing temperatures can be life-threatening.
• If you become trapped in a winter storm while driving, stay in your car. Run your engine for a few minutes every hour to reheat the interior of your car, making sure your exhaust pipe is not blocked. Keep a window cracked to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide.
• Tie a very visible item such as a red handkerchief to the highest point on your vehicle, often the antenna. This will keep you visible to rescuers.
Motorists should have a winter weather survival kit in in the trunk or secured in cargo area of their vehicle. It should include the following:
• Emergency first aid kit
• Ice scraper, shovel, small bag of sand or abrasive material
• Flashlight, extra batteries (optional: portable radio)
• Blankets or sleeping bag
• Extra set of dry clothing
• Nonperishable snacks (high-energy or dehydrated foods)
• Jumper cables
• Empty coffee can or plastic container
• Brightly colored cloth (red) to attach to car to signal help is needed
• Fully charged cell phone
More information can be found at http://www.dor.state.ne.us/rca/wz/winter-page.htm.
Travelers in need of nonemergency roadside assistance, or motorists wanting to report a reckless or impaired driver are encouraged to utilize the Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline by dialing *55 from their cell phone when safe to do so, or 1-800-525-5555 from any landline.