Thursday, May 6, 2021

Staying safe in snowy weather

In a place like Plattsburgh, dealing with winter weather is a common problem during the colder months.

From winter driving, to dealing with snowy sidewalks on campus, PSUC’s climate can be a frustrating one during its months-long winters, but there are some tips to help you along the way.

For anyone who drives during the winter, keeping safety in mind while traveling to destinations is important. For students driving to and on busy college campuses, being aware of one’s surroundings can help avoid harmful situations.

The best time to get one’s vehicle prepared for winter, is before winter even hits, according to State Farm. Having certain items in your car can be of help in case of emergencies. Some of these items include spark plugs, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid and a spare tire and a jack.

State Farm also suggests a few tips for driving during winter conditions: keep the gas tank at least half full to prevent the gas line freezing, make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged, don’t use cruise control on icy roads and allow more time to brake during poor conditions and visibility.

Plattsburgh State senior psychology major Shannon McDonald doesn’t love snowy conditions. Mcdonald has a long drive home for breaks and has experienced a situation that caught her by surprise.

“One time I didn’t think it was even supposed to snow, and I was halfway home, and all of a sudden everything was just white,” McDonald said. “Here there wasn’t any snow, and once I hit the mountains, it was a whiteout. I couldn’t see anything.”

PSUC junior early childhood education major Erin Carey is someone who doesn’t really think differently of winter driving until she’s on the highway. She also said it’s important for PSUC students to be able to adapt to winter driving conditions.

“Instead of being scared, you need to learn how to adapt and drive in these types of conditions rather than being like ‘ahhhhh’ any time it snows,” Carey said. “So, I would say, ‘don’t freak out, don’t stress. And if you are stressed, have a friend in the car with you.’”

Another student that shares this sentiment is junior early childhood education major Harley Reyome. Reyome and Carey both agree the school could do a better job up taking care of the sidewalks, stairs and parking lots after a heavy snowfall.

“Being on campus, they’re so bad,” Reyome said regarding the campus student parking lots. “They plow us in and you can’t do a parking ban in the parking lot on campus, so they will plow everything else, but it puts all of the snow onto the cars. So, they literally trap the cars in with the snow.”

The sidewalks and stairs also seem to be neglected. Both agree on while the case with the parking lots may be unavoidable due to the need for on campus student parking lots, there is no excuse for the sidewalks to not be fully cleared, according to Carey and Reyome.

In some places on campus where there are multiple sets of stairs side by side, Carey said only one portion will be cleared away, creating congested foot traffic. She has even seen some students trying to go up an uncleared set but were unable to because of the snow.

“Instead of shoveling, sometimes they’ll just sprinkle salt down so there will just be slush everywhere,” Reyome said.

Driving and parking safely in the winter can be a difficult task if one doesn’t know how to properly do so. However, there are resources that can be utilized to figure out how to safely prepare to drive in the snow.

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