The warm and dry temperatures of the fall on Colorado’s front range are coming to an end as weather patterns transition into the 2023-24 winter season.
UCCS’ accident statistics from winter 2022-23, which are provided by the Colorado Department of Public Safety, saw traffic accident reports peak by a factor of five from Nov.-March with the most cited reason being driving too fast and carelessly for the conditions.
According to the National Safety Council, environmental factors rank 10th in the top 10 causes of accidents with the first being driver negligence.
Aside from accidents, the public safety department’s 2022-23 statistics showed battery jump assist calls increased by a factor of four, and stranded motorists calls increased by a factor of three from Nov.-March due to temperature and snowfall.
UCCS’ transportation field manager James Rehkopf spoke about the shuttle services being an alternate form of transportation to assist students, faculty and visitors in the event of delays and closures due to winter weather conditions.
“Our goal is to have the buses in position out on the route 45 minutes to an hour early before campus opens and hang around for at least 45 minutes to an hour on the route if we do an early closure so we keep the buses on route to evacuate campus,” Rehkopf said.
The weather and accident section on UCCS’ website gives more information about how to utilize the shuttle services before they are officially out of service when severe winter weather conditions occur.
The determination process for delayed starts and cancellations begins 24-48 hours in advance and is monitored with the forecast by UCCS officials to evaluate impacts of the weather conditions and to make possible adjustments as the weather evolves.
The UCCS Police and facility representatives reference the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s data for future updates and conditions, which begins at around 4 a.m., before releasing information regarding a delayed start or full closure.
In the instance of an early closure, a campus-wide message will be sent out via email, text, a message from the UCCS Safe app and also posted on the UCCS website with at least two hours advanced notice.
Rehpkopf advised students and faculty who rely on the shuttle services to reach their vehicles to leave campus before the shuttle’s closure time is announced or leave as soon as possible if they can’t beforehand.
Snow tires, warm clothes, first aid kits, a windshield brush and scraper tool are common essentials for Colorado drivers and the NOAA recommends additional survival preparedness resources such as tire chains, snow shovels, battery cables, tow ropes, flashlights and extra blankets.
Students can monitor weather impact emergency messages on Flash Alert and receive campus announcements via the UCCS Safe app.
The first snowfall of the semester gets students ready for future cold mornings and snowy drives to campus. Photo by Megan Moen.