Snowy, cold weather conditions affecting students’ driving situations


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Caleb Phillips normally gets 350 miles out of a full tank of gas.

During his commute from East Lansing, he said he’s been getting about 100 less due to the intense snow, wind and cold temperatures.

“I’ve noticed that as I drive up here,” said Phillips, a 23-year-old Lansing senior. “It’s really affected my gas bill in my car. My car also hasn’t started a few times.”

Phillips is one of many who have been affected by the drastic weather conditions Central Michigan University and Mount Pleasant have endured this month. The weather has resulted in CMU canceling their classes, along with the Isabella County Road Commission declaring a snow emergency on Jan. 24.

CMU's cancelled classes due to dangerously cold temperatures was the first in at least 17 years, if ever, said Steve Smith, CMU director of public relations.

Tony Casali, ICRC manager, said the road commission declared the snow emergency at 8 p.m. on the previous Friday before lifting it at about noon on Jan. 25.

Casali said the purpose of the snow emergency was to get drivers off the roads so the snowplow trucks could clear the roads easier.

“It was just a short declaration to make sure the drivers knew what (was) going on out there, (and) to stay inside while we got our job done for them," Casali said. "(Around) 8 p.m. was when the conditions really kicked in, which was the high-wind storm and the cold weather. We were able to get a lot of snow plowed through Saturday.”

Many weather-related traffic accidents took place around CMU’s campus during the snowfall. CMU Police Chief, Bill Yeagley, said issues included broken-down vehicles, cars sliding off the roads and collisions.

Yeagley said the cold conditions affect CMUPD officers as much as it affects students.

“It makes it more difficult for anyone whose been in this weather, especially our office,” Yeagley said. “That cold gets to the bone quickly, and it makes everything more difficult. Having it two to four days in a row, I think that’s what wears on people.”

One of the students feeling the effects of the cold is Lindsay Dougherty, a Bloomfield Hills senior. Because the cold caused problems starting her car, Dougherty had to walk 15 minutes from her apartment to campus in the cold and wind.

She said she had to adjust her nightlife and outfit to adapt to the cold.

“That walk is very cold when the wind is blowing. That’s why I haven’t gone out anywhere at all,” Dougherty said. “I’ve been covered from head to toe in warm gear. I actually have to buy new boots because mine weren’t sufficient enough for the cold.”

However, not every student has let the cold stop them from going out. Adam Bruce, a Midland junior, said he dresses warmer to go hang out with his friends. That still doesn’t mean he appreciates the cold weather.

“I don’t really like it," Bruce said. "I’m over it. I’m ready for warmth.”


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