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Tips & Tricks for Surviving a North Dakota Winter (College Edition)

As many of you know and have experienced, winter in North Dakota can get insanely cold. If you are new to North Dakota, you are in for a special surprise… maybe even a snowy, windy, negative 50’s surprise. Below are some tips and tricks on how to stay warm and of course, survive in a North Dakota winter.

1. The Right Clothing

Winter is no joke. Make sure you have a thick coat, a pair of gloves, a hat, scarf, face mask, snow boots, and snow pants. Walking to class may get pretty brisk if you don’t have enough warm clothing. You might find yourself going skiing one weekend or maybe even building a snowman with friends.  If you do not have one of these items, head over to a store that provides winter clothing.

2. Have an Emergency Bag

Everyone should have an emergency bag in their vehicle. Some items to keep in the bag are a blanket, water, flashlight, extra hat and gloves, money, hand warmers, shovel and chocolate. We should always be prepared!

3. Have Sand or Cat Litter in Your Vehicle

Wait? Cat Litter? Yes, you will need it. It can be used to help prevent your vehicle from sliding around on the ice (students with cars, we know exactly what could happen with icy roads). Putting even weight in the front and back of your vehicle will help with the traction. Both sand and cat litter can also be handy. All you must do is put either sand or litter in front or behind your tires and this will hopefully help you get unstuck.

4. Allow Extra Driving Time

We all know that saying we will be able to make it in 10 minutes does not really happen. When it comes to winter, we need to be more cautious with driving. Sometimes it can be so windy that snow blows over the roads causing ice to be covered. We need to drive slowly and be aware. When you are coming to stop, there is no need to slam on the breaks. Simply, press your foot slowly down on the breaks. If you are in 4-wheel drive, slamming your foot down on the breaks can actually harm your tires and the breaks itself.  Try to allow extra time to get to class though!

5. Extra Socks

Wear two pairs of socks instead of one. Sometimes winter boots just do not do the trick. You will be surprised at how warm your feet are when you get back from walking all around campus.

6. Full Tank Always

Winter can be the season where we are constantly filling our gas tank. The reason for this is because we tend to keep our vehicle running longer to keep the heat going throughout the vehicle. Some vehicles also have the option to pre-start with our keys from a dorm room or apartment.  If your gas mileage says you have 20 miles until empty, don’t wait until the next day to fill it up, do it at that moment. Try not to go below a quarter of a tank.

7. Keep Charged Up

Whenever you plan on traveling anywhere make sure your phone battery is charged up. In the unfortunate event where you may run out of gas, your car battery dies or get in a fender bender, you will need to have your phone to be able to communicate with people about what is going on or call for emergency personnel.

8. Communicate Your Travel Plans

College students, this is very important! Whenever you plan on heading home on the weekend do not forget to let your family know when you are leaving and whenever you make a stop at a gas station, check-in with them. You should also let your roommate(s) know so they are aware of what is going on and so they can also keep track of you. Be sure to stay up-to-date on the weather and road conditions by having apps on your cell phone such as weather.com or or the ND DOT site.

9. Ice on Windshield? We Can Fix That Instantly!

Sometimes we run a little behind when heading to class so we will go ahead and scrape a little spot on our windshield for us to see through while driving and call it good. We should know this is not safe but we are trying to save time! Here is a quick trick to help clear your windshield instantly. Go to your local store, grab a spray bottle and fill it with three parts vinegar (or rubbing alcohol) and one part water. This will clear it up within 20 seconds. Its a fast and inexpensive trick!

10. Jumper Cables

Don’t forget to have jumper cables in your car! Sometimes it gets too cold outside to the point where our cars do not even start. Make sure to have a friend handy, you just might need to have them help you.

Now that winter is here, be safe and enjoy the North Dakota winter!

Another helpful tip – Roers Property Management has apartments and townhomes close to campus. If you don’t want to have to deal with road conditions in the winter, contact us to find out more about living close to NDSU.