When the white stuff flies, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) has people you can look up to. Literally.
Four roadside billboards are being unveiled this week, showcasing the agency’s winter-fighting axiom this season: Your Safe Travel Is Our Business. NDOT’s mission to keep Nebraska’s roadways safe for the traveling public and a reminder to the public of its responsibility to take proper winter-driving precautions serve as motivators for the billboards. The four displays, placed strategically across the state, are a way for NDOT to put the message on the road.
Even with NDOT plows on the job, motorists need to tend to their own safety, and encourage others to do so, when traveling during hazardous weather. A great first step is checking 511, Nebraska’s Advanced Traveler Information System, where the most up-to-date travel conditions are available. The system is available at all times via Nebraska 511’s smartphone app, online at www.511.nebraska.gov, or by dialing 511 on your mobile device within the state, or dialing 1-800-906-9069 from a landline or outside Nebraska.
As travelers take on winter’s fury, they can rest easy knowing there is a dedicated group looking out for their safety. NDOT and the Nebraska State Patrol work diligently to keep roads safe every day, every night and in every storm.
Each of the four new billboards highlight local snowplow drivers, letting motorists know their neighbors are the everyday heroes blazing the way through difficult conditions. Serving their communities and doing their part to shrink the number of winter crashes are what keep them focused.
Snowplow drivers featured on the Scottsbluff-area billboard are Mike Spengler, Russell “Rusty” Beaman, and Larry Ramos. “They are part of NDOT District 5 faced with dueling the Panhandle’s weather, which is notorious for changing quickly,” said District 5 Engineer Doug Hoevet.
“We need to do our best to prepare for those dramatic swings in temperature and road conditions,” he added. “Our staff responds to roadside emergencies all year long. During winter, our efforts are complicated by the low temperatures, shorter amount of daylight and severe weather.”
If you are going to venture out into hazardous conditions, keep these pointers in mind:
· Be prepared with warm clothing, water and food. If traveling a significant distance, stock a winter weather survival kit with additional items.
· Always buckle up, do not drive faster than conditions allow and allow for plenty of travel time.
· Blowing and drifting snow can reduce visibility.
· If you are stranded while traveling, stay in your vehicle until help arrives.
· If your vehicle becomes stuck, run your motor sparingly and keep a window cracked to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide. Have a red flag or bandana to signal for help.
· The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) Highway Helpline is available 24 hours per day for motorists in need of assistance. You can reach NSP by dialing *55 from any cell phone. Call 911 for any emergency.
For more safe-driving tips and winter weather information, visit NDOT’s website, http://dot.nebraska.gov/safety/driving/winter/