Editorial: Use Your Best Judgement in Bad Weather

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), there are over 5.7 million vehicle crashes each year and approximately 22 percent are weather related. On average, nearly 6,000 people are killed and over 445,000 people are injured in weather related crashes each year.

Crashes during winter weather conditions account for 17 percent during snow or sleet, 13 percent on icy pavement and 14 percent on snowy or slushy pavement.

Although Youngstown State University is trying to make campus more residential, it is still highly commuter-based, which can be bad news when weather conditions are poor. This is especially the case for those who live 40 minutes or more away from campus.

Winter weather is usually the reason parents receive delay or closure notifications, but students at YSU don’t typically have snow days. Students are expected to come to class in wind, sleet, snow and in negative temperatures.

One reason not to skip class is “You pay to be here.” Many people have probably heard this line, and it’s true. Unlike high school, college is optional, and we are paying for the privilege to take classes. So, before anything else, check your YSU email. Even though YSU rarely cancels, sometimes an instructor will decide it may be too dangerous to come to campus. Read the email carefully, though, as they may still have an assignment due.

If an instructor doesn’t cancel class, but you are thinking about not coming to campus, you should use your best judgement.

Check the news for road conditions and accident reports first. Also check local social media groups and messages, as people will usually post about road conditions.

Other people’s experiences may help you make the best decision, but also use your own judgement.

Remember in the future, after college, jobs don’t usually cancel because of weather conditions. You are still expected to show up on time, so driving to class in poor weather could be good practice. Also, the speed limit is just a suggestion; you can drive below it.

Ultimately, you know yourself and you know what your vehicle is capable of. If you don’t think you’ll make it to campus, email your instructor and let them know. Take it slow, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and stay safe out there.