Snow and ice make for hazardous conditions

By Kelly Smith | 1/15/17 8:37pm

Well, Michigan’s January weather has certainly begun to set in. As I’m sure we’ve all noticed, the roads and sidewalks have become very icy this past week. Seeing as classes were cancelled on Thursday, that’s a pretty serious issue. And although it hasn’t been too much of an issue recently, I have a feeling more snow is definitely on the way before winter’s over. So this is a reminder about the hazards of good old winter weather.

I was reminded a few times this past week about how deceptively dangerous ice can be. We hear about watching out for black ice when we’re driving all the time, but how about black ice when we’re walking? It’s pretty sneaky!

I actually slipped and fell a couple times this past week, one of which I landed on my wrist for support and it ached for a few days afterward, making certain movements not very pleasant. I know that when you’re in the process of slipping and falling, you don’t really have enough time to put too much thought into what part of you will take most of the impact, but if you can help it, try landing on a less fragile limb like the upper arm or leg. Injuring a wrist or ankle isn’t what anyone wants to deal with, especially this early in the semester.

Black ice can be very dangerous, even on foot. I think the best ways to deal with ice on sidewalks to keep an eye out for the areas that look wet. I also found that, assuming the snow isn’t too bad, walking on the grass is good because the ice can’t stick to grass like it can to cement, so walking on grass can be another safe alternative.

While this hasn’t been too much of an issue so far this semester, I know in December the snow on the roads got pretty bad. Anyone who’s tried driving through snow and slush probably knows what I’m talking about. Turning becomes more difficult, your wheels sometimes feel like they’re not going exactly where you want them to, braking for traffic lights and stop signs becomes a nightmare, and so on. 

Fortunately, those in charge of plowing the roads do a good job, but their top priority, from what I’ve noticed, are the main roads and expressways. Side streets always seem to stay covered after snowfall. On one hand, at least driving through downtown Allendale shouldn’t be a huge issue, but on another hand, getting there is a different story. Fortunately, there’s not enough snow for this to be a major problem right now, but if it does become an issue, slow and steady wins the race every time.

I don’t know what kind of weather we’re looking at this winter. Sometimes it hasn’t been too bad, but other times it’s been absolutely nerve-racking. In addition to traveling issues, there’s also the headaches of cars taking longer to start up and the dangers of dry skin. Winter is not the time to take unnecessary chances, so be sure to take proper precautions, and stay warm out there!

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