Hey there Badgers! Welcome back to Brock, I hope you had a good holiday break!

Second semester. It’s that season again. Winter is finally here! Now, hearing this news, you probably fall into one of two groups of people. Your reaction is probably

a) less than enthused


b) pretty excited.

Second semester can be a hectic time, and the weather isn’t really helping things with the rain, slush, sleet, snow. Every and any inconvenient type of weather issue is possible at this time of the year and if you drive or bus to Brock, you probably know what I’m talking about. Not only are there tons of vehicles moving in and out of the university at any time of the day, but the roads are full of cars in the cold winter months when no one wants to walk, or be outside at all. So here are some tips for staying safe on the winter roads this season.

Before You Leave

1. Get out the door early.

Seriously. At least look out the window. There’s nothing worse than finding your car (and driveway) buried beneath several feet of snow when you’re already running late. Make time to deal with getting your car ready.

2. Clear off the car. Completely.

Say you’re running late. Say you don’t have time, so you kind of hastily shove the snow off a few of your windows and as soon as you start driving, the wind pushes all the snow on the hood onto the wind shield and all the snow on the roof blocks out the rear view window. And then maybe you turn on the wipers but they’re stuck so they break or they’re covered in ice so they do nothing to clear the snow. Yeah, that’s why. Winter is also the worst time to get lazy with your driving visibility, especially when the roads are slippery and you could be blocking the visibility of the person behind you with all the snow blowing off your car. Don’t be that person.

3. Warm up the car.

If you have a remote car starter, this is where it comes in handy. If you don’t you’ll probably have to do it the old fashioned way. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to not be sitting in a metal icebox for half your drive.

Another reason is if you’ve got some frost on your windows and you’re feeling lazy, so instead of scraping, you spray it with wind shield wiper fluid and it immediately freezes and fogs over the window. If the car’s warm enough you can avoid this, but it’s best just to scrape the ice off anyway. Salt water or rubbing alcohol solutions can also be used to take off the ice, but you probably don’t have a bottle of that lying around in the morning.

On the Road

1. Don’t drive on existing tire tracks.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, driving over new snow gives better traction than driving over someone else’s tracks. If you’ve ever walked over smushed snow, you’ve probably noticed it gives way and is much more slippery than new snow which is still crunchy. This isn’t to say go out of your way to drive on new snow, just be aware of when you’re driving over slippery ground and maybe don’t follow those tracks so closely.

2. Be aware of your distance to other cars.

Imagine this, you’re going down a hill and there are a bunch of cars in front and behind you. The car at the very front suddenly brakes, causing a chain reaction of hasty braking all the way up to your car.

It sounds like common sense, but it’s a lot harder in practice since everyone drives at different speeds in the winter time. Just be extra observant about who’s slowing down and where you are and who’s around you.

3. Avoid sudden acceleration and sudden braking.

Again, sounds a lot like common sense but you’ve probably seen plenty of people spinning tires on the road. Sometimes there’s no helping it, but sometimes it makes a huge difference. It’s hard to gain traction if you didn’t have any in the first place. And just remember, the faster you’re moving, the longer it’s going to take you to stop properly. If you brake suddenly, then you’re not in a car anymore, you’re in a giant metal box gliding ever so ungracefully across the icy roads. It’s hard to gain control at that point, so try not to get there in the first place.

At Brock

1. If possible, park where the snow’s been shovelled.

If you have 8 am classes and it happens to be blizzard weather out, I know you think it’s awesome that you got the closest parking spot, but if it hasn’t been cleared and it ends up snowing all day, you’re probably going to come back to a half-buried car. Not to mention that by the time the snowplow does come around, it’s going to push a nice little wall of snow all around your car to make it even harder to get out of there. I mean, if you’re dead set on getting a good parking spot, maybe keep a shovel in your trunk to dig yourself out.

2. Pull up your wipers.

This is mostly done to prevent them freezing to the windshield, which tends to happen after you park your warm car and the melted, watery snow re-freezes over the wipers. If you’re in a hurry, having frozen wipers and needing to wait for your car to heat up enough to melt off the ice can be tedious so this is a good idea. Broken wipers can be pretty annoying to replace and fix at any time of the year, but this is where they tend to break the most.

Well, I hope some of these tips can help you survive the winter season here at Brock. Stay warm, drive safely, and enjoy the snow! Or, don’t, if that’s your thing.