As “Old Man Winter” revs his engine for the season ahead, traffic won’t be the only commuter nightmare on the roads.
Winter is perhaps the most challenging season to be a commuter. While winter does not officially start until Dec. 22, the frosty weather can strike well before its official date, shown by the snowfall we experienced in October. The so-called “spring semester” takes place mostly over the winter and the bulk of Rider’s snow days occur then. Another marker of the upcoming wintry weather is the hard frost that has formed overnight in the past few weeks.
As a commuter, winter means balancing the needs of a jacket heavy enough to stay warm, yet not bulky enough to be a hassle, while carrying a bag full of books, too. However, there are other factors to consider as well.
Crisp mornings mean cars that could have a coat of frost on windows and mirrors. Getting up a little earlier to ensure that there is time for that to melt away before the commute is one way to keep winter from causing a late arrival to campus. After all, that is traffic’s job: to attempt to make us late every morning.
Snow and ice are other factors to consider. Although snow days are announced with enough notice that no one is likely to already be on the road to get to an 8 a.m. class, snow storms can start during classes, meaning that students may leave to discover snow on their cars. Ice can occur anytime the road surface has some water on it that reaches below 32 degrees. The solution is simple: keep a shovel and scraper in your car in case it gets blocked by snow and ice forms on the windshield.
Another essential to keep in your trunk is a sleeping bag. If conditions become bad before the end of the day, consider asking a resident friend to let you crash on his or her floor or couch. Snowy conditions are not always safe to drive home in.
It is important to remember that snow days are based on conditions in Rider’s immediate area. If conditions are worse at home, especially if the roads are in poor shape, staying home may be the best option. While classes are important, safety should always come first.
Senior journalism major