It’s always best to be prepared and as we approach the colder months, getting winterized sooner than later, is always a good idea. The Plaster Student Union and Taylor Health & Wellness shared these ideas for our commuters:
Winterize your car. Check coolant. Replace the windshield wiper blades. Fill your windshield washer fluid (use wintertime mixture). Check your heater & defroster. Make sure all lights work (including emergency flashers). Service your battery. Check tire pressure. Replace worn tires and check your spare. Check your brakes and brake fluid.
Get necessary winter driving supplies into your car: ice scraper, snow brush, cat litter (for traction), deicer, jumper cables, and flares/emergency lights.
Prepare an emergency kit in case you are stranded in cold temperatures: Blanket, Extra warm clothes, hat and gloves, flashlight, bottled water, packaged snacks (granola or energy bar, trail mix, etc.). Pack these things together and place in your trunk.
Be prepared for frozen locks. If your car sits outside all day, your door locks can freeze. Ice buildup on your door can freeze the door shut, even if the lock is working. Try other doors – sometimes the other side works fine! To help avoid frozen doors & locks, park where the sun can shine on your door.
Communicate with your professors. Make sure that your instructors know that you commute from a distance and may not be able to make it in even if classes are not canceled. Let them know now, and make sure you contact them as soon as you realize you will not be able to get to campus due to weather when it happens. Most instructors will work with you if you make the effort to let them know what’s going on.
Dress in layers. You need to bundle up for walks across campus in the cold, but some classroom buildings can be very warm, and others chilly. Wear clothes that allow you to adjust to the variety of temperatures you will encounter.
Get (and wear) appropriate footwear. Nothing beats a warm & comfortable pair of boots in the snow and ice – especially for climbing over the piles of snow at the curb. Avoid heeled “cute” boots – look for functional shoes that will keep you warm and provide traction.
Find a hangout. If you generally eat lunch and/or study in your car between classes, it’s time to come in out of the cold! Plaster Student Union has a number of comfortable lounges, including space in the Level 1 Game Center with couches and big screen TVs, and it’s fine to bring in your lunch if you don’t want to purchase it here. Most academic buildings have study or lounge areas. Meyer Library is a great choice if you want a quieter environment.
Find a couch: connect with someone who lives on or near campus who could let you stay with them if you get caught in a sudden storm during the day. It’s safer to stay put than to travel when roads are icy or snow-covered, and it’s comforting to know where you’ll go if you get stuck on campus – no need for frantic last minute calls to find a place to crash.
Watch the weather. You need to know what to expect during your day. In the Ozarks, the weather can change abruptly. Some days, the temperature will drop during the day rather than rising and a clear crisp day can turn into a giant snowstorm.
Stock up. If you live on your own, stock up some basic nonperishable food items. When a winter storm hits in Springfield, the local grocery stores become packed with people and shelves empty. If you have some items on hand, you can avoid that chaos, and head straight home and indoors when the snow starts to fly.