UMDPD talks winter safety

Illustration by: Will Madison

Illustration by: Will Madison

The first bit of winter came already in October this year, throwing a violent snow storm where even parts of the Lake Walk was torn up. With more snow on the forecast this week, UMD Police Department is prepared to handle snowy conditions.

“We fortunately haven’t had any accidents yet, which is good,” Police Sergeant Tim LeGarde said. “Usually when winter weather comes around, especially when it’s a little unexpected like this year, we tend to have a few more accidents from drivers who maybe aren’t prepared for it or used to it after the summer and fall.”

Even though the storms over the past few weeks have been heavy, LeGarde said that UMD is used to handling the snow. This may be the reason for few accidents.

“The fact that the numbers are down, that’s a big thing for us,” LeGarde said. “We’re glad to see that.”

In the winter of 2013, the UMDPD handled an incident that was very critical.  

“A student, due to alcohol consumption, fell asleep outside her residence on a cold night,” LeGarde said. “She ended up losing some of her fingers due to the frostbite.”

LeGarde also remembers an incident where two students who were coming back to campus only dressed in shirts and shorts on a 10-15 degree night. He said that they were very lucky the UMDPD was able to find them.

“One of them wore sandals to the party and lost them on the way back,” LeGarde said. “They ended up in a stairwell over by the fieldhouse, and one of them was able to call 911 for help because they didn’t know where they were.”

Luckily there have not been any student deaths due to weather in the past few decades. However, the UMDPD often see car accidents due to difficult conditions.

“When you get a little bit of ice out there, it’s a tough thing,” LeGarde said. “You have to be prepared for it and you have to respect it.”

UMD student Emily Fassbender said that what you wear is important in order to be safe in the winter weather.

“Don’t wear cute shoes,” Fassbender said. “They’re not made for winter, you can slip and fall and break your ankle. I’m speaking from experience.”

Levi Bican, another student, said that driving carefully on the roads is a vital part of being safe.

“Cautious driving,” Bican said. “It’s slippery and people tend to overestimate their abilities on the road.”

According to the Sergeant, another easy way to stay and warm, is by being prepared for winter weather conditions.

“You can live with winter, you can work with winter, but if you’re willing to do that and you’re not prepared for that, it can be dangerous,” LeGarde said.

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