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Editorial

Winter weather requires drivers to be prepared

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December 10, 2009

Although his arrival was a little later than usual, Old Man Winter has descended on UW-River Falls. And in a big way. Wednesday’s severe winter weather, which closed down the state of Wisconsin, served as more than just a school-canceling blizzard, it was a harsh reminder to all students that winter in this state can be brutal.

The Student Voice Editorial Board wants to urge all students to take the time to make sure they are prepared for the season.

Now that there is accumulated snow on the ground, and temperatures have dropped to below freezing, it is important to practice safe driving practices. Although it is important to be a defensive and aware driver year-round, there are new hazards that students need to watch out for when they get behind the wheel – packed down snow, black ice, white-out conditions and out-of-control vehicles, just to name a few.

Students need to slow down while driving and be extremely cognoscente of the weather conditions and other drivers and pedestrians. One never knows when a car will roll through an intersection or stop sign because their breaks have locked up, for example. This means that if you need to give yourself a little extra time to get somewhere, than you must plan for that and leave early. Ignoring the road conditions and driving as if on warm, dry roads can have fatal repercussions.

It is also crucial for students to prepare emergency kits that can be kept in the back seats and trunks of cars. These kits should include a blanket, gloves, some edible provisions, cat litter, a flashlight, hand warmers and jumper cables. These items could save you time, money, an appendage or your life.

Beyond having an emergency kit, make sure to also have a list of emergency contacts that live close enough that they can offer some assistance if the situation should arise.

Along with those names and numbers, have a few numbers to call for towing services, as well, just in case.

But it is not enough to simply call someone to help. What if the person who arrives to give aid doesn’t have jumper cables, or the basic know-how to use them? Take your winter safety into your own hands. Buy a set of jumper cables that never leave your car, and fully understand how to use them.

With winter break approaching, a lot of students will be driving home for the holidays. Make sure to be prepared when driving home, or when driving anywhere. The moderate amount of time and money required to become prepared pales in comparison to your life.