Although it is still fall in the Missouri Ozarks, S&T students, faculty and staff should take action now to prepare for winter weather. Please review the following helpful tips for preparing for a winter storm, traveling during bad weather or walking on ice. S&T’s custodial and landscape services staff will work to prepare campus walkways and parking lots for snow or ice. For more tips and information, visit the state of Missouri’s official winter weather safety site.
Skip to the following sections for more information on each topic:
- General winter weather tips
- Winter driving tips
- Safety tips for walking on ice
- Dress warmly to avoid frostbite and hypothermia
General winter weather tips
- Monitor local news media for weather reports and emergency information
- Look to the university website, alert.mst.edu, for information on cancellations or university closings
- Stay clear of dropped or sagging power lines
- Avoid areas with many trees; snow or ice may cause tree limbs to fall
- Stay inside if possible
- Use extreme caution when walking outside or driving
- If you must travel:
- Travel during the day
- Stay on main roads; avoid back-road shortcuts
- Carry emergency supplies or kits
- Dress warmly to prevent frostbite or hypothermia
Winter driving tips
The American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends the following winter driving tips:
- Stay home; if you really don’t have to go out, don’t
- Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Get the proper amount of rest before taking on a winter weather trip to reduce driving risks.
- Always wear your seat belt
- Watch the weather reports and road condition reports. Delay driving when possible. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
- Pack your vehicle with blankets, gloves, hats, food, water, and any needed medications
- Make certain that your tires are properly inflated, your washer fluid is topped off, and your vehicle’s gas tank is at least half full
- Never run a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage
- Do not use cruise control when driving on slippery surfaces (wet, ice, snow, sand)
- Always look and steer in the direction that you want to go
- Drive slowly; give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly
- Ice on the road can make the road look as though it’s just wet. Be very cautious driving on wet roads when the temperature is below freezing.
- The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There is a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling.
- Remember bridges and overpasses freeze first. Try and avoid braking on bridges and overpasses and drive especially slow and carefully on those surfaces.
- Applying gas on snow and ice-covered roads only causes your wheels to spin
- Don’t stop as you progress up a hill. It’s very difficult to try and get moving up a hill on an icy road.
- Yield the road to emergency vehicles and road maintenance crews
- Avoid distractions when driving. This includes eating, drinking, or using your cellular telephone.
Safety tips for walking on ice
- Leather- or plastic-soled shoes increase your risk of slipping and falling. Wear shoes with rubber or neoprene gripping soles.
- Look at the surface before you start walking. When you exiting a vehicle, brace yourself to get stability. Anticipate ice.
- On ice, don’t walk with your hands in your pockets. Take shuffling steps.
- Don’t step on uneven surfaces, curbs, or painted concrete
- If you feel as though you are going to fall, roll with the fall and try and roll backwards. If possible, relax when you begin to fall and discard anything you are carrying.
- Avoid walking on surfaces that have not been treated. Avoid shortcuts as they are typically located in areas where snow and ice removal is not possible.
Dress warmly to avoid frostbite and hypothermia
During extremely cold weather, experts advise wearing:
- A hat, scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
- Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
- Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
- Water-resistant coat and boots
- Several layers of loose-fitting clothing
How to wear layers
- Inner Layer: Wear fabrics that will hold more body heat and don’t absorb moisture. Wool, silk or polypropylene will hold more body heat than cotton.
- Insulation Layer: An insulation layer will help you retain heat by trapping air close to your body. Natural fibers, like wool or goose down or a classic fleece work best.
- Outer Layer: The outermost layer helps protect you from wind, rain, and snow. It should be tightly woven, and preferably be water and wind resistant to reduce loss of body heat.
Avoid frostbite and hypothermia
Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers and toes. Signs include numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin.
Actions — Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage affected areas or use a heating pad.
Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency. Signs include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness.
Action — Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first — chest, neck, head and groin. Keep dry and wrapped in warm blankets, including the head and neck.
In either case, it’s important to see a medical provider as soon as possible.
Your University Police Department is always open and officers are always on patrol. Feel free to call or text the S&T University Police Department any time. The main number to the police department is 573-341-4300 (24 hour). You may also text the Missouri S&T Police Department via the Rave Guardian app.