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Student Life: Prepare your car for winter, consider Safe Ride

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The first snowfall of the season blankets the Oval on Nov. 19. Credit: Lantern File Photo

Whether you live in a dorm or off campus, drive a car to class or ride the bus, one thing that is unavoidable is having to walk to class. Now in the middle of winter, what can students do to be more prepared for the cold-weather conditions?

Driving in winter weather can create problems students who commute to class. While there’s no way to predict when one might experience car trouble, Rachel DeMooy, program manager at Ohio State’s Office of Student Life Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services, said keeping up with car maintenance prepare students for the winter. By doing this, she said, students can eliminate some of the time it takes them to arrive on campus.

“(You should) make sure there’s enough coolant in your engine so your engine doesn’t freeze,” DeMooy said. “Also, making sure to volt test your battery. Batteries tend to have more problems in the winter.”

While having a car on campus can shorten students’ walks to class, that isn’t to say those without cars are worse off. DeMooy said the CABS bus system university provides services to help students get around campus more conveniently.

DeMooy also recommended the Department of Public Safety’s Safe Ride program offers a transportation service for students who feel unsafe and need a ride to their car, home or class. In the winter months, Joey Eringman, program manager for the Safety Service Safe Ride Program, said he notices more students using the service. While the service is designed for students who feel unsafe, Eringman said the service does more than just give rides.

“We do jump starts, we help contact the right resources for people whose vehicle may have gone down or broke down somehow,” Eringman said. “If we are driving around, and say we have a slow time period, we’ll see people walking and if it’s real cold out we offer rides to people who may need a ride, but haven’t requested a ride.”

The Safe Ride Program employs 30 students and has about 10 working each night, Eringman said.

But regardless of the conditions — rain, snow or cold — Eringman said this program is used to help others who don’t feel safe, whatever the reason may be.

So if resources like the CABS bus system and the Safe Ride Program are intended to make traveling in the snow easier, but what about the sidewalks and roads students have to walk across? With more than 40 miles of roads and more than 130 miles of sidewalks on campus, keeping up with maintaining the conditions of the roadways and walkways is a task that takes four to six hours when there’s snow or ice on the ground, said Dan Hedman spokesman for OSU Administration and Planning.

Roads, sidewalks and the area surrounding a building are primarily maintained by Facility Operations and Development, while CampusParc maintains the parking lots.

“(Facility Operations and Development) do a lot of work to put brine down to prepare for ice and they always blow and salt the roadways when they can,” Hedman said.

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