By Claire DeRoin–
The five inches of snow that fell in Sioux City early this week was a rude awakening for many Morningside commuters. January was exceptionally mild. The roads were clear of ice and snow for the majority of the month. But let’s face it: it’s wintertime in Iowa. That means snow. It had to happen sooner or later.
Here are a few tips for winter-time commuting:
Leave early. It’s common sense, but sometimes an extra fifteen minutes are needed to get to class on time. Who knows when a car engine will stall or snow plow will bury a car in a snow bank? Leave yourself plenty of time to call a friend for a ride to campus in case something happens to your regular mode of transportation.
Check your e-mail. Although it doesn’t seem that Morningside has a campus-wide cancellation of classes very often, sometimes professors have trouble getting to campus. Before setting out across town for class, make sure to double check that inbox for any messages about class cancellations.
Keep an extra pair of shoes in your car. Is there anything worse than your shoes getting soaked while scraping the ice off of your windows? Yes. Spending a day on campus with soggy shoes is miserable. To prevent this, keep a pair of shoes in your trunk. Try to keep them a neutral style and color so that they’ll match a large range of outfits. After your commute, you can put your dry shoes on and head to class.
Check-in with someone. It may seem silly, but it can be important to have a check-in buddy especially during winter months. If you’re about to drive to campus in a snow storm or on icy roads, shoot a quick text to a classmate, friend, or parent to let them know you’re about to set out. If none of these people are available, e-mail your professor and let them know you’re a commuter driving to campus. This way, if you don’t make it to class due to a fender bender or a trip into the ditch, someone will be aware that you’re missing. If you are able to make it to campus, another quick text will assure your buddy that you’ve made it safely.
Keep an emergency kit in your car. If you’re driving to campus from further than just a block away, make up a winter emergency kit to keep in your car. Some good things to keep in the trunk are: a blanket, heavy gloves, snow boots, phone book, non-perishable food items, and an extra ice scraper.
Remember: safety first. If you’re certain that it’s far too dangerous to drive to campus, stay home. E-mail your professor and make arrangements accordingly.