Stay safe on roads this winter

Monday, November 26, 2001

We knew it had to happen sooner or later.

After a balmy October and most of November, reality is arriving with the first blast of winter weather. While most of McCook's much-welcome moisture arrived in the form of rain, those to the west of us are dealing with serious amounts of snow and ice.

While we were enjoying the warm fall weather, those who have to deal most directly with icy roads were gearing up for the onslaught of winter weather.

As a story in the weekend edition related, the Nebraska Department of Roads is taking full advantage of new technologies in the struggle to ensure safe travel.

Perhaps the most useful to individual travelers is the statewide 511 telephone system.

By calling 511 from a cellular or conventional telephone, drivers can access the most up-to-date road conditions and travel advisories which apply to their trip.

Yes, we all hate punching buttons to get through those computerized menus to the information we want, but don't pass judgment until you try the new 511 system. Try it out sometime; we believe you'll like it.

Of course, knowing the road conditions won't do you any good if your car won't make it to your destination.

Warmer weather can mask serious mechanical shortcomings that become all too apparent once cold weather arrives.

Cold weather has arrived, but there's still time, before you head out on that trip, to check out vital systems such as battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lighting system, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster and oil level.

Make sure your tires are good, and carry chains if necessary. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom in your car, as well as a winter survival kit.

If you are trapped in a blizzard, stay in the car and don't leave it unless you see help visible within 100 yards. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.

Above all, use your best judgment to stay safe this winter.

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