Lincoln prepares for winter driving as Nebraska gets a glimpse of snowy weather
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Nebraska got a taste of winter weather on Tuesday, which led to a number of crashes across the state.
Nebraska State Patrol and several local law enforcement agencies said they received calls all morning for vehicles sliding off the interstate and other highways.
Truckers at the Shoemaker’s Truck Stop just outside of Lincoln said they were able to handle the snow and ice by driving very carefully.
Lene Nowlend, a driver with Country Tuff LLC in Idaho, said the weather hit them as they drove into Lincoln.
“We did see going east, a gentleman had sideswiped by a semi, his whole windows were blown out,” she said. “It was pretty bad I assume from either the wind or from the weather.”
Nowlend said drivers need to slow down and leave more room to avoid collisions in this type of weather.
The Lincoln Police Department also said it’s important to keep up with the weather and plan accordingly as we head into the winter months.
Capt. Todd Kocian said one way you can do this is by giving yourself more time to get to destinations.
“Be prepared to leave a little early,” Kocian said. “For the last nine months of the year we’ve become accustomed to the roads being dry and clear, but once those weather patterns change and the road conditions changes, the time it’s going to take us is going to increase.”
He also said to be ready to drive more slowly in icy conditions, especially on bridges and side streets and to leave more space to slow down.
“When you’re driving in traffic leave yourself that little bit of extra gap in between your car and the one in front of you,” he said. “Because if you are approaching an intersection and the road is icy, that extra space can help prevent a crash.”
Kocian recommends having your car serviced regularly to check that everything is working so that drivers don’t get stranded in the cold.
He said you should also keep extra supplies like coats, hats, and gloves, in your car as well as tools like jumper cables and an ice scraper.
“It’s very important to have all your windows scraped,” he said. “What you don’t want to do is just scrape a little hole in front of the driver’s seat because that really inhibits your vision, and it prevents you from seeing cars coming around you from the side.”
LPD also advises not leaving your unattended while it’s warming up, as many people have their cars stolen that way this time of year.
“We see a lot of people doing that, they like to go out, start their car, come back inside where it’s warm, cause they want a warm car to get into,” Kocian said. “Unfortunately, that comes with the added risk of not having your car there when you come back out. I would rather get in a cold car and drive to work than have no car.”
Lincoln Transportation and Utilities said it had a handful of crews put de-icing material down on roads and bridges Tuesday morning.
The city’s new snowplows were also out and about helping monitor Lincoln streets.
The new snow-fighting equipment was unveiled in October and includes 12 snowplows that can spray anti-icing chemicals while also plowing the roads.
LTU said so far, they’ve hired six seasonal operators to drive these vehicles but are still searching for more.
For those interested in helping plow Lincoln’s roads this winter, applications are still available, but you will need to have a commercial driver’s license.