Managing Winter Weather Impacts - Tips

Winter presents a slew of challenges for commuters of every variety. Consider the following tips to be safer as you get around amidst all of the snow and ice!

    Winter Driving Tips
  • Be patient. Go slow, and be prepared for your fellow commuters to encounter troubles.
  • Be predictable. Drive in a manner consistent with traffic laws, and obey signals, and take extra time to ensure intersections are clear before proceeding.
  • Be defensive. Go slow. Expect the unexpected.
  • Be aware. Keep distractions such as cell phones to a minimum.
  • Be equipped. Many winter driving pitfalls can be remedied with proper equipment. A few recommendations include:
    • Emergency kit with blankets, extra clothes, warning devices, and other safety equipment.
    • Window scraper/snow brush
    • Snow shovel
    • Sand or other traction assisting material
  • Campus winter parking restrictions information

    Winter Walking Tips
  • Be visible. Wear bright clothing and reflective lights or material.
  • Be predictable. Walk on sidewalks or pedestrian paths, cross at cross walks, and obey signals.
  • Be defensive. Always look for oncoming traffic, make sure motorists and bicyclists see you.
  • Be aware. Keep the volume on any portable devices low enough to hear traffic.
  • Be prepared. Wear proper clothing for the elements. If you're walking a long distance, plan routes where you can go inside to warm up along the way, if needed.
  • Be equipped. Improve your traction on snow and ice with proper boots and/or traction devices (brand names include YakTrax or DueNorth).

    Winter Biking Tips
  • First and foremost, winter bicycling is extremely challenging, and only recommended for the experienced bicyclist. Please practice winter bicycling in a controlled environment before attempting to commute by bike.
  • Be visible. Wear bright clothing and reflective lights or material.
  • Be predictable. Ride in a manner consistent with traffic laws, and obey signals, and use designated bicycle lanes or paths whenever possible.
  • Be defensive. Go slow. Always look for oncoming traffic, and make sure motorists see you.
  • Be aware. Keep the volume on any portable devices low enough to hear traffic.
  • Be prepared. Wear proper clothing for the elements. Recommendations include:
    • Warm, waterproof, windproof outerlayers.
    • Warm, waterproof mittens/gloves that do not compromise your ability to brake or change gears.
    • Warm but think head covering that fits under your helmet and protects your ears.
    • Warm, waterproof layer for protecting your face.
  • Be equipped. Winter biking equipment is extremely helpful. A few recommendations include:
    • Proper bike lights for biking in the dark
    • Fenders
    • Studded tires
  • For more helpful winter biking tips, see our Winter Bicycling page.

    Winter Transit Tips
  • Be patient. Buses prioritize safety, and will only go as fast as conditions allow.
  • Be informed. Sign up for text or email alerts so you know of major changes to service. Madison Metro website (opens in new window)
  • Be prepared. Use Metro's Transit Tracker (opens in new window) to find real time arrival information and reduce your waiting time.
  • Be equipped. Wear proper clothing for the elements. Improve your traction on snow and ice with proper boots and/or traction devices (brand names include YakTrax or DueNorth).
  • Be defensive. Have the numbers of local taxi companies with you in case your bus doesn't arrive.

    General Winter Commuting Tips
  • Plan ahead and leave early. Winter conditions require everyone to travel slower than usual, and make delays more likely.
  • Expect your friends on the road to encounter challenges, and be patient. Look out for each other.
  • Always dress warmly enough that you would be okay if you were outside for an hour or more.
  • Carry a cell phone in case of an emergency. If you don't have a cell phone, tell someone where you're going, and when you'll be back.