Pets in the park

A furry friend enjoys playing in the snow at Urbanovsky Park, Jan. 24, 2023. 

In the midst of an extreme cold front, Texas Tech is taking measures to protect its students. Classes have been delayed, canceled, or moved online; warnings have been issued and encouragements to stay warm and safe have been posted on nearly every social media site. With Tech making its own preparations for the freeze, students can be doing the same. 

A major concern for those unfamiliar with winter weather is the impact the ice and cold will have on a vehicle. Freezing temperatures will affect both cars and the roads they drive on, but there are safety precautions that can be taken to make travel safer. 

Don Bridges, an employee of Nick’s Automotive on 34th Street, said to be aware of your car’s coolant levels and check for leaks before attempting to start it.

“Make sure that the coolant is topped off in the reservoir. Usually, you can see that with the visual eye, just looking at the level… That’s the main thing. If there’s no coolant in there, it messes with a lot of different stuff,” Bridges said. “…I would check to make sure there’s nothing leaking out of the car before you’ve started it.”

Bridges said it is normal to see some water coming out of the exhaust pipes after starting the car, but otherwise you shouldn’t see any leakage, specifically not under the engine compartment. 

Bridges also advised to maintain a steady speed while driving on slick roads, and to pull over as far off the road as possible if you are experiencing a problem with your car. 

In addition to Bridge’s advice, students should be aware of their tire pressure as the weather changes, as well as attempt to keep their gas tanks more than half full. Tire pressure will fluctuate with the dropping temperatures and excessive air in the gas tank can lead to condensation, which can cause corrosion or the freezing of fuel lines in the most extreme temperatures. 

Along with the concerns about vehicles in the freezing temperatures, issues regarding animals and pets also become more prominent.

Sara Rae, a technician at Acres North Veterinary Hospital, said keeping pets inside and providing adequate shelter, especially for smaller animals with thinner coats. 

“Definitely making sure they have adequate shelter and warmth, bringing them in ideally, even if it’s just into a protected garage,” Rae said. 

Rae said keeping your pet properly nourished, providing enough water and good quality food will help them manage the freezing weather. 

Additionally, pet owners should be aware that the salt and chemicals used to melt snow and ice on roads can be harmful to animals if ingested. Taking the time to clean and warm their paws will not only prevent the ingestion of these chemicals, but also help ward off the frostbite that animal paws are susceptible to. 

The primary advice offered to pet owners is to keep your animal inside, warm and supervised, and to ensure that they are eating and drinking enough. 

In all, the best advice for dealing with a freeze is preparation. Take the time to check your car for malfunctions and supervise and bring indoors any pets. 

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