November 28, 2017
Living in Colorado, students know that slippery, dangerous roads are an inevitable companion to snow. Driving in winter weather conditions is something that UCCS students deal with almost daily in the wintertime.
At UCCS, 80 percent of students are commuter students, traveling from locations that are five minutes away from campus, or as far as Denver. As of September, there are 1,749 nonresident students, who may experiencing harsh winter driving conditions for the first time.
Ron Honn, the environmental health and safety manager, urges students to be cautious while driving in the snow.
“The biggest thing is making sure you maintain traction. You need to slow down depending on the conditions,” he said. “Always make sure you have good tire traction, make wider turns, and if you want to make sure you’re on time, leave early.”
A common misconception that drivers have about driving in the snow is that four-wheel drive will allow drivers to travel with ease in any weather condition, according to Honn.
“Four-wheel drive is only used to get going; it doesn’t help you to stop,” said Honn. “You shouldn’t go faster than the conditions permit.”
In 2016, 21,910 car accidents occurred in Colorado, according to the State of Colorado’s website. The crashes were most likely due to the winter weather conditions that people were faced with driving in.
Campus will close unless there is “unreasonable risk or danger” to students and employees as a result of dangerous driving conditions, according to Public Safety.
Marc Pino, chief of police and Public Safety, makes the decision about whether UCCS will cancel morning classes by 6 a.m. and for afternoon classes at around 3 p.m.
“There are a lot of factors that go into this decision. They look at the dispatch shuttle, and if they have traction, if other school distracts are canceling class, and what the weather forecast for the rest of the day looks like,” said Honn.
Often, accidents in winter weather conditions occur due to sliding, which is caused by travelling too fast. In the circumstance that a student slides off the road and gets stuck, it’s important that they come prepared.
“Always have a winter kit with you in case you do go off the road,” Honn said.
Kits could include kitty litter to place under the tires to increase tire traction, or a shovel to dig out snows from under the tires. Students interested in more information on building a kit can reach out to [email protected].
Driving slow can be the key to driving in bad weather conditions. But to make it to class without being tardy, students must give themselves extra time while driving.
While other drivers are often willing to stop and help those who are stuck, doing so can be dangerous and cause congestion on the roads, making another accident more likely to occur.
To stay up to date on campus closures, students can register for UCCSAlerts at alerts.uccs.edu/?page_id=42. To check road conditions in the event of snow, a blizzard or a storm, visit cotrip.org.