‘Take your time’: NMU Public Safety recommends taking it slow when driving in the snow

Take your time: NMU Public Safety recommends taking it slow when driving in the snow

As the weather changes in the UP, so should driving habits, the UP is known for its changing climate and heavy snowfall. Students at NMU range from local to across the country and road conditions may be different than what is experienced elsewhere. Sgt. Adam Maynard of the regional police institute and public safety shares a few words on what students should look for and prepare for this winter.

“The biggest thing is obviously slow down, take your time. I know it’s irregular that we are having spring weather right now but the weather can change so fast that it’s best to be prepared,” Maynard said.

A lot of complications can start with the vehicle, whether that be age, tires, fluids and much more. Maynard suggests starting with those problems, like making sure your oil and coolant is changed and if you can put the winter tires on the front of the vehicle.

“Most of the time accidents occur because the front tires lose traction first, so if you can only have one set of tires, put them in the front,” Maynard said. “It’s the opposite of what we think, if your coolant is low then you’ll have a hard time getting your car to warm up.”

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Maynard also recommends keeping things like window scrapers, portable shovels and kitty litter in case of emergency, as well as more practical items such as spare food, water and blankets. A small item that can make a difference in an emergency situation could be as simple as a candle.

“People don’t really think much of a candle but just one candle on your dashboard will supply enough heat to keep the inside of your vehicle warm. In an emergency situation that heat can make all the difference,” Maynard said.

Other advice includes turning your traction control off when backing out of a spot that you are starting to get stuck in, and remembering to turn it back on when on the road.

In the midst of the snowy season, NMU offers a plowing service for the dorms and apartments on campus. On Saturday mornings a specified lot will receive this service for students to have an easier time parking, the tradeoff being that they will have to move their vehicle the previous night. Emails to students and signs are placed to inform students of the plowing schedule, but there are still cars that are left in the lot.

“The biggest thing is that we don’t want people to not care, if you have a problem with moving your vehicle by all means reach out,” Maynard said. “If your car is broken we will be happy to give you advice on a temporary solution or help you find towing, leaving your car in the lot, as we all know, leaves a big pile of snow that just adds up and makes the lot a little more difficult to get out of.”

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With the second semester starting to grind down, snow days and cold days are on everyone’s mind, and although the weather is unusually warm, there are still signs of an upcoming day off. Closing starts with the plows and their ability to clear off parking lots and sidewalks and if they are able to before classes start, secondly the police departments in the area coordinate in investigating the road conditions outside of campus. For cold weather, if the weather reaches negative 25 windchill, then campus closes.

“We are adults. If you don’t feel it’s safe to go to work or to come to class then do it, but understand that it’s on you. Your professor may not clear your absence, but make your own decision for your safety,” Maynard said.

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