How commuters should prepare for winter travel

Rebecca Voorhees, Staff Writer

Winter is here. While we’ve had mostly mild weather so far, the snow is inevitable. For those who live on campus, it can be inconvenient. For the commuters, however, it can be downright dangerous. If you have ever watched That 70s Show, you know the wise Red Forman once said, “Preparation makes all the difference.” It is important to take extensive measures to guarantee the safety of yourself and others. Here are some things you can do to prevent accidents this season.

1. Keep your car in check. Cars require a lot of care and attention, especially in harsh weather. Get your battery checked and charged if needed, and service your car. Fluids are crucial, so keep back-up containers of antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid handy. Please do not skip cleaning the snow off of your car. Limiting your visibility is probably the most irresponsible thing you could do.

2. Look at your tires. As the temperature drops, so will the inflation. Tire pressure is extremely important when having sufficient control of the car, particularly turning. Have a travel sized air compressor in your car if you cannot wait to put air in at a gas station. Also, if you do not already have snow tires, they are a great investment and are your safest bet when driving in the winter.

3. What happens if you spin out, and get stuck in the snow? Red Forman created the niftiest emergency roadside kit for sticky situations. In the kit you should have: a bag of cat litter, a coffee can, a candle and matches. The candle should be placed in the can, and lit to heat up the metal. This will help melt the snow evenly away from the tire. The cat litter can be poured underneath the tires to create traction. Then you should carefully attempt to move the car again. It is also good to have a flashlight, first aid kit and a spare cell phone charger on hand.

4. Have an overnight bag ready at all times. NEPA is well-known for its unpredictable weather and we have all been a witness to it. There will more than likely be a night that some students cannot leave campus because of the dangerous snowy and icy conditions. The bag should have a change of clothes, blankets, hygienic supplies, toiletries or anything you might need. Board games and music are fun additions to the bag. It might be safest (and fun) to stay a night with a few friends in the residence halls.

5. Have good judgement. Check the weather reports, and look outside. Stay in contact with your professors and friends living on campus. Ask yourself, “Should I drive in the snow today?” “Is this reasonable?” If there is a serious storm and you do not feel comfortable driving, do not do it. Nothing is worth risking your life, and your parents will definitely thank you. Catch up on work and study in the comfort of your home.

Now that you have got the survival list of the winter, it is time to put it to use. Procrastination is your worst enemy and it is best to prepare all of these things before you think it is needed. Do your best to be safe and attentive drivers this season.