NDOT and NSP caution drivers as latest storm impacts state
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraska looks to be in store for another major winter storm for the New Year, which will impact travelers across much of the state overnight and through tomorrow.
For the first day of the new year, Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) crews are prepared for the latest round of winter weather. While the forecast could fluctuate, concerns are highest for potential heavy snowfall during the storm coupled with sustained high winds, creating low visibility. This system will work its way through the state beginning overnight and will continue through Saturday, creating slush and snow-covered roadways. Travel during Saturday is not advised. Motorists are encouraged to adjust any travel planned for tomorrow. NDOT crews will be out to clear the highways and monitor changing conditions throughout the storm.
“This winter storm looks to impact much of the state, with potential for significant snowfall coupled with high winds along the I-80 corridor,’ said NDOT Director John Selmer. “Regardless of the time of day or night, our crews at NDOT remain ready to address this winter storm and the different challenges it will bring. Drivers are encouraged to be informed about weather and road conditions before making the decision to travel by checking 511.Nebraska.Gov and Plows.Nebraska.Gov. Remember to slow down, increase following distance, turn off your cruise control and always buckle up.
Nebraska State Troopers will also be working throughout the state, ready to assist motorists and respond to any crashes that may occur. Any motorist who becomes stranded can call the NSP Highway Helpline at *55 or 800-525-5555 to speak directly with an NSP dispatcher.
“The broad impact of this storm will be felt in some way across the entire state,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “The type of snow expected, combined with strong winds, will make visibility difficult in many areas. Adjust your travel plans accordingly while the storm moves through and stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.”
Travelers are advised to be alert, be aware, and check the most up to date travel conditions available through 511, Nebraska’s Advanced Traveler Information System. The system is available at all times online at www.511.nebraska.gov, with Nebraska 511′s smartphone app, or by calling 511. Travelers are also encouraged to utilize NDOT’s Plow Tracker at https://plows.nebraska.gov/index.html where the public will be able to observe road conditions in real time from the cabs of NDOT Snow Plows. Please note that weather conditions are often worse than they appear on camera.
Should travel be absolutely necessary, NDOT and NSP remind motorists to be prepared with warm clothing, water, and food. Be sure to travel on well-established routes and notify someone when you are leaving for your destination. If traveling a distance, a winter weather survival kit is advised with additional basic items.
If you must travel, do not drive faster than conditions allow. Surfaces will be slick under the snow and visibility may be poor. Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination.
With snowplows out on the roads, travelers are urged to be cautious and courteous to those operating them, making sure to:
Slow down as you approach plows. They travel slowly, usually 25-30 MPH 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.
Motorists are reminded to make sure everyone in their vehicle wears a seat belt and children are in a car safety seat. Do not use cruise control in wet or snowy weather and keep a full gas tank.
For safe-driving tips and winter weather information, visit NDOT’s website, http://dot.nebraska.gov/safety/driving/winter/
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