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Slick weather conditions require patience

Rowena Ranan, Staff Reporter - January 16, 2012

Social networking sites have been exploding with status updates about how frustrated people are with drivers on slick roads. The updates come from all over Washington, complaining that some drivers feel road superiority as they switch lanes with their four-wheel drive vehicles.

Steve Matthews, Ellensburg Police Corporal in the Patrol Division, investigates a lot of collisions during this time of the year. He says the main problem is drivers not giving themselves enough distance between cars to enable them to stop in time.

Even with speed limits of 20 and 25 miles per hour, there is still the issue of sliding into the back of another car as a result of impatience. To those who think traveling at higher speeds is an indicator of a well-seasoned driver, Matthews adamantly disagrees.

“Weather conditions dictate the miles per hour,” Matthews said. “Even with snow tires,[speed limits] can be too fast.”

The winter months are the true test of patience as safety absolutely demands it.
Dealing with deductibles and angry parents is not worth tail-gating that sweet old lady on your way to class.

Salam Awad, senior political science major, stresses the importance of planning ahead as she travels daily via the Yakima-Ellensburg Commuter.

During the winter season, she adds 45 minutes to her travel time to and from campus, but the trip can take up to two or three hours. Despite her diligent planning, sometimes heavy piles of snow and treacherous, icy roads foil her travel arrangements, leaving Awad with no choice but to stay at her Yakima residence.

“I call my professors and stay at home,” Awad said. “I have to.”

Harsh winter snow and ice not only affects driving, it also affects foot traffic on campus. Central’s Disability Services works hard during the winter season to ensure all students can travel to and from classes. At the beginning of the quarter, students with disabilities submit their class schedules to Disability Services so those routes become priority for the snow-plows. Sometimes, relentless snowfall can make the trek across campus too difficult. A phone call to DSS warrants an immediate response to help individuals get to their destination. For those witnessing a student struggling through the snow, Pam Wilson, associate director of Disability Services, said there are ways for everyone to help.

“If you see someone struggling because of this weather,” Wilson said, “usually people are appreciative if you ask to give them a hand, a push, or any other assistance.”

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