Chatriand emphasizes student safety, winter conditions
As students flock home for winter break, University of Idaho Associate Dean of Students Craig Chatriand said getting home safely amid winter conditions should be the No. 1 priority for all Vandals.
“For students that drive themselves, I think there’s a couple of things you should keep in mind,” Chatriand said. “First, (students) just got done with finals, so a lot of students are extremely tired. The level of stress they’ve had on finals may affect them and fatigue them. So finishing your last final and jumping in the car to drive six hours might not be the best idea.”
Almost every year lives are lost or students are injured in car accidents by making the journey home for the holidays. Chatriand said often times it’s bad weather conditions that lead to vehicle accidents.
“If there’s bad weather, wait a day to drive,” he said.
Chatriand said peer pressure can also take a strong lead in preventing accidents next week.
“If you hear a friend who’s been up all week cramming for finals, say, ‘Hey, maybe wait a day’ or offer to go with them,” he said. “Looking out for our friends is always a great way to stay safe.”
UI sophomore Daniel Butcher, who said he is driving home himself next week, is taking extra precautions to avoid an accident.
“I like to hurry home … but if it’s bad conditions, never push it,” he said. “And if it’s really, really bad, pull off for the night and make sure you have a blanket or a pillow. Be prepared for the unexpected.”
Yet, Chatriand said students have options when it comes to getting home safely. UI offers a holiday break bus ride that takes students on different routes to destinations such as Boise and Portland. The bus is offered through the Dean of Students Office and the cost of a seat is around $110.
The Wheatland Express Company also offers shuttles that take students to the Spokane Airport for long distance trips.
“I think any of those buses and shuttles are always a good way to get home,” Chatriand said.
Although weather related accidents are an ever-present danger in any city, Chatriand said UI students should be cautious of Palouse weather and the long, two-lane highways many students take home.
“We care a great deal about getting our students home safely,” he said.
Chatriand said there are many precautions students can make to prepare for a safe trip home.
“Drive with friends in the car to keep you awake and to talk to you,” he said. “And also avoid texting and being on your phone.”
Chatriand said everyone should take precautions, not just young drivers. He said he hopes to see everyone back in January as he returns to UI as the new dean of students.
“I would ask (students) to stop and think about what’s going to be ahead of them,” he said. “No matter where you go from Moscow… the possibility of (accidents) is pretty high.”
Bradley Burgess can be reached at email@example.com