Issue: People are ill prepared for the winter weather


Editorial Board

Welp, it’s November. While folks in other states might simply be enjoying brisk weather and preparing for Thanksgiving, for us, it means we get to welcome snow.

It might seem that we did this just months ago, and at this point, driving in these conditions should be muscle memory—but that’s not the case.

In just the first hour of snowfall this winter season, the Brookings Police Department reported seven accidents.

We at The Collegian understand that driving in winter conditions can be slippery and dangerous. But, we also acknowledge that drivers don’t always put themselves in the best position to drive safely.

Here are some things that we, as an editorial board, would like to see.

Clear your windshield. We get that it’s cold out. We’ve been in that position where we’re pondering just turning on our windshield wipers and getting on with our lives. But, truth be told, this is neither effective nor safe. Get out of your car and clean off the whole windshield.

Don’t just stop there, though. Clear your entire car, including the rooftop. Drivers who don’t do this risk snow and ice flying off their cars and hitting or blinding others. Be courteous and make sure that your car is cleared of snow so other drivers don’t have to worry.

Stay off your phone. Seriously. This shouldn’t even have to be said at this point, but here we are. Being on your phone in perfect road conditions is bad enough, but being on your phone on icy road conditions is a whole ‘nother level of stupid. Be smart, put your phone down and focus on getting to your destination safely.

Don’t tailgate. While we all like tailgating before football games or other sporting events, leave it there and not on the road. Not only is tailgating dangerous for you, but also for everyone else on the roadways. You never know when the car ahead of you might need to slam on its brakes. Either one of you could slide when trying to stop.

If you are on campus and your car dies, the University Police Department is there for you. Call UPD at (605) 688-5117, and ask for a jump start. UPD offers free jump starts to cars on campus. Be sure to thank the hardworking officers, as well.

But, there’s ways to prevent your car from needing a jumpstart.

Start your car regularly, don’t be lazy. If you don’t drive on a regular basis, still go out and let your vehicle idle for 10-15 minutes once in a while when it’s cold for long periods of time. If you don’t, your car will almost positively need a jumpstart, which isn’t fun for you or the person jumping it.

Prepare yourself for the commute. Start your car early to give the engine time to warm up, make sure you leave enough time to scrape the ice from the windshield and, since the weather conditions are going to slow down travel, schedule more time on your commute so you aren’t overdriving the conditions to make it to your destination on time.

And, by all means, buy a shovel and a winter emergency kit just to cover all the bases.

We at The Collegian hope you get to your destinations safely this winter and take every precaution necessary to do so.

The Collegian Editorial Board meets weekly and agrees on the issue of the editorial. The editorial represents the opinion of The Collegian.