Brace yourself: winter roads are coming

Savanna Hennig

Winter has finally hit Marquette—No more of that powdery, pretty, anticipation-for-Christmas fluff. This means shoveling pavement, lugging boot-clad feet through sandy slush, wearing your heaviest coat and crossing your fingers that you don’t freeze on your way to Jamrich.

This weather also means terrible roads and more often than not, people who don’t know how to drive on these terrible

You can be a hardcore winter driving veteran who has so many years under your belt of cruising during blizzards. That’s really cool, and I respect your talent, but you don’t know about the driver next to you. You may know how to handle snow-coated roads, but not every driver does.

In the last few days, I’ve watched cars skidding as they go through turns and tires spinning at stoplights trying to dart out after their light turns green. A situation in which you briefly lose control of your car could instantly turn dangerous. Even when making a simple turn—a turn you’ve driven through twice a day for the past year — severe winter conditions make driving more dangerous. A sudden thick patch of soft wet fluff at an intersection can be the next culprit for your car to skid and land a blow into a car nearby.

Marquette’s snow-coated roads feel different under your tires. For the newcomers to Marquette and winter-driving completely, it can be scary when your car slides across ice for the first time. Some daring drivers try to handle the road the same as they would without the burden of ice and snow, at times even pushing the speed limit.

Last semester we were treated with awesome weather with mild temps and the occasional dust of powder. This makes the contrast of weather even more noticeable. New winter drivers tend to think, “Well I was fine on the road last semester. It’ll be just like last time.”

More often than not, the car itself will go neglected in the winter as well. Severe cold and ice has negative effects on the tires, oil and battery of the car — just to name a select few. It’s best to be aware of what to look for under the hood and keep up on maintenance in your vehicle, including doing battery and fluid checks. Ignoring signs of winter damage in or on your car is yet another danger to yourself and others on the road.

With a decent amount of snow on the road already (and even more on the way), it calls for caution on the roads. Being a good winter driver means safe driving—even if that means slowing down and being late for class. Even if that means shelling out some money to get some maintenance done. Being safe on the road in the winter does cost some extra time and money, and yes, it sucks, but it’s a lot better than the negative alternative.

For your sake and every other driver on the roads (including me), drive safe out there this semester.