Winter’s here! Here’s how to handle all of the snow
We’ve already experienced one intense snowfall this winter, and there’s more to come. If you’re new to Canada, this might be an experience you’re not used to. Or maybe you only recently started living away from home, or driving to school, and dealing with the snow is a new thing. While we’re not a country of igloo-dwellers like the old stereotypes, Canadian winters can be cold, snowy, and tough to handle if you’re not ready. Here’s a guide to how it can impact your life, and what you need to do to keep moving when the white stuff starts falling.
Know when it’s coming
Don’t just wake up and deal with whatever weather greets you in the morning. Start paying attention to forecasts, or at least get a weather app for your phone, and don’t go to sleep without knowing and preparing for how the next morning’s weather is going to go. But even if it’s saying there’s a low chance of snow, be prepared anyway, since weather can change. As to what those plans are...
Leave early for everything
As bad as any snowstorm is, it’s worse if you’re dealing with it while you’re in a rush to get somewhere. The fact is that, whether driving, commuting by transit or walking, everything moves slower when it’s snowing, so you’ll want to give yourself more time to get to class, or anywhere else you need to go. My rule’s usually to give myself an extra 50 per cent of the time, meaning if you’re expecting a 20-minute commute, give yourself an extra 10 minutes, and if you have an hour-long commute, give yourself an extra 30 minutes.
Clean your car!
If you’re driving, here’s another reason to leave early: You’ll also want to give yourself enough time in the morning to get your car properly cleaned off. First of all, it’s unsafe to drive when you can’t see out of all of your windows, and my own life experience says that they won’t be cleared off by heat and windshield wipers anytime soon, you need to specifically scrape them all off. Secondly, don’t just clean the windows. Brush the whole car off. It’s safer for other drivers, as any snow flying off your car can cause accidents. In fact, if you don’t have a good scraper/brush combo, buy one right now.
Prepare for winter driving
Speaking of being a driver, get ready to drive in the snow. Firstly, get some winter tires. They may be pricey, but you’ll slip and slide less, and your increased safety is worth the price. Speaking of that, tires or not, you’ll need to adjust how you drive in the snow. No more driving the speed limit. Instead, you’ll have to move slower and give yourself way more space between cars, and start braking much earlier.
Dress for the weather
At the bare minimum, you need to have a good, thick jacket, some gloves, a hat, and some winter boots. Basically, you want to keep your skin out of the open air. And those boots are especially important, so you don’t slip and slide on the ground. And, when it’s really cold, start wearing multiple layers of socks inside the boots.
Shovel that snow when it’s light
Most people don’t like shovelling snow, but when a few inches land on the ground, it’s in your best interests to shovel it clean now, instead of later, when more snow gets added to it, or worse, it freezes over and becomes solid. So, be proactive, and clean it up as soon as it hits the ground.
Know when to stay home
Centennial College monitors the weather, and will close campuses if things get too bad – always check Centennial’s website or social media during a storm for any closure notices. Outside of school, you need to start making your own calls about when to pack it in, and just not travel. For example, if there’s an ice storm, it’s often not worth going out, be it driving, commuting or just walking. This doesn’t mean that you can start skipping out on everything important once there’s snow on the ground, but at the same time, you need to know when the risks of travelling aren’t worth it.
By Anthony Geremia