Officials with the Nebraska State Patrol say now is the time to prepare, before the snow starts falling.
“We’re anticipating quite a heavy snowfall in the area. So, we encourage people that if you don’t have to drive, don’t. But if you do, just be sure that you always wear your seatbelt and don’t drive faster than the conditions allow,” says Lt. Todd Kinghorn with the Nebraska State Patrol headquarters in Lincoln.
Forecasts predict between four to eight inches of snow in Lincoln and Omaha, but up to 15 inches of snow along the Kansas border.
The patrol recommends traveling only when necessary, traveling well-traveled routes, giving yourself plenty of time, and letting others know your travel plans.
Travelers can check on road conditions through 511, Nebraska’s Advanced Traveler Information System at 511.nebraska.gov, the 511 Mobile Traveler Site at ndortraveler.mobi (the site also works on PC’s), or by dialing 511 (800-906-9069) from any landline or cellular phone for information.
Equip your car with a winter weather emergency kit, which should include an ice scraper, shovel, small bag of sand, flashlights with batteries, portable battery operated radio as well as non-perishable food and bottled water. Extra clothing, blankets, jumper cables and a full charged cell phone would also be helpful.
If you get stuck in the snow, the patrol advises to stay with the vehicle.
“You’ll have a better chance of surviving inside the vehicle than outside, walking away from it,” Kinghorn says.
You can contact the patrol either by dialing Star-55 on your cell phone or calling 9-1-1. Kinghorn says a trooper will come to your rescue as soon as possible.
The engine can be run safely if a vehicle is stranded by running it periodically to maintain some warmth within the car. Keep a window cracked while the engine runs to provide ventilation and keep carbon monoxide from building up within the vehicle. It is best to always keep at least half a tank of gas in a vehicle during winter to prevent a gas-line freeze and provide enough fuel to run a car if stranded.