Five tips for commuting to class in bad weather


The past few days have proved to be full of foul weather for Shippensburg, which means hazardous driving situations.

As a commuter, I have picked up some tips from the road when it comes to driving in nasty conditions. Here are some things I have learned that have kept me safe and out of trouble so far:

1.) Slow down.

Although this sounds obvious, slowing down is your best defense against an accident.

It is easy to get distracted and lose track of your speedometer, so turn the radio down, tell your passengers to be quiet, and focus on your speed.

Sometimes crawling along at 5 miles per hour is the fastest the situation allows you to drive, so just accept it. It is better to be late to your destination than to not show up at all because of an accident.

2.)Do not slam your brakes.

When the roads get icy, slamming on your brakes can cause you to spin, flip and slide into a situation that can cause an accident.

Instead, you should be going slow enough that you can ease into the brake and creep to a stop. Be sure to brake far in advance of your stopping point to ensure that you stop where you want to.

3.) Keep both your hands on the wheel.

Keeping both your hands on the wheel not only provides you with a better grip on the steering wheel, it also prevents you from fiddling with the radio and controls that can distract you.

Your focus should be only on the road. Looking away for even a second to adjust your music can create a life or death situation.

Also, do not use your cell phone while driving. In bad weather it not only puts you in a dangerous situation, but also everyone else on the road with you.

4.) Pack a survival kit.

Packing a survival kit may feel extreme, but it offers you tools that can be crucial if you are stranded somewhere.

Things such as a first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, boots, gloves, snacks, water and a shovel or ice scraper can be extremely helpful.

Also be sure to charge your cell phone before you begin your travels to call for help if you need it. Remember: Do not use your cell phone while driving.

5.) Stick to the main roads.

Driving your favorite shortcut on the back roads may be fast in good weather, but in bad weather it could take twice as long.

Many back roads get plowed last and you could get stuck and stranded somewhere with no other travelers passing through to help you.

The main roads may be full of slow moving traffic, but at least a snow plow has moved through at least once and you are not driving on an unplowed road.

These tips have helped me as a commuter in the past and continue to prove to be beneficial.

Keep in mind if the roads are too hazardous to travel, it is better to stay home than to risk your life.

Shippensburg is a town of unpredictable weather patterns, so remember to stay calm in facing many different driving conditions this semester.

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