Winter Weather Tips

Winter Safety

1. Our grad students come from all over the country and all over the world.  For many first year students, this will be an eye-opening experience of cold. Our best advice: good boots! If your feet are wet and cold, you’re going to be miserable.  Dress in many layers, so you can adjust in a well-heated indoor room. Whether driving or walking, give yourself extra time to get places. Not only will you have to scrape snow and ice from your car, you will have to walk carefully on potentially slippery surfaces. If this is your first time driving in winter conditions, please read Safe Winter Driving Tips.

2. Heaters dry out the air, and consequently your skin, your sinuses, and everything else. Consider purchasing a humidifier for your home, and find a moisturizing lotion you like enough for daily use.

3. Make sure to bring gloves, a hat, and a scarf when you leave the house. It is also a good idea to keep a spare set of warm clothes, hand and foot warmers, and a blanket in your car. You never know when you're going to need extra warmth!

4. Speaking of cars, now’s a good time to be sure your car is winter-ready. Make sure you’re up to speed on routine maintenance (oil change, radiator flush, etc.), purchase a good ice scraper and snow brush, and put a cheap bag of kitty litter in your trunk.  When wiping snow off your car, make sure to clear the front headlights and back taillights/breaklights. It is the law and will greatly improve your safety and that of the other drivers who might actually then be able to see you. For hints on safe winter driving visit

5. We call it the “permacloud,” that constantly gray state of the universe between November and March in South Bend. It makes you want to get in the car and drive until you see the sun. If you need to brighten up from the winter blues without spending a fortune on gas, reserve a time slot for light therapy at the Inner Resources Room. It’s a free, easy, and sunny solution to a common seasonal concern.

6. Beware the ice you cannot see! One day it's wet and rainy. Next day it'll freeze. Then it snows.  The fresh snow can hide ice underneath. Please wear proper footwear and take care while walking on potentially slippery surfaces. This is especially important when walking in parking lots. The clear black ice is particularly deceptive.

7. If you are away from home during the winter months, be sure your apartment or house is winter-ready. Leave the central heat turned on, with the thermostat set at 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help prevent pipes in external walls from freezing.

8. Don’t be fooled by sunshine. A clear blue and sunny sky looks like a Spring day…until you get outside in the 17 degree chill. Check the weather before you leave the house, and make sure that you will be warm enough for the whole day.

9. Enjoy the snow! Campus is beautiful in the winter. Don't forget to take a moonlight walk and watch as the snow glitters on the trees around the lakes. :)