AAA helps OUWB medical students prepare for winter weather driving

Rachel Yim, Science & Technology Reporter

This year’s Michigan weather can make out-of-state students at Oakland University feel concerned.

With its annual average temperature increased by more than 2 degrees, Michigan is no longer the state with the weather many people know of. Due to the change, Michiganders are spending a winter warmer than usual. However, students who have to drive to school are having a hard time out on the roads.

Michigan’s winter is notorious for its road conditions. This makes it devastating for students, especially those who commute, to drive their way to school. It can be crucial for them to be well-prepared for driving in these severe conditions.

Luckily for students at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB), the American Automobile Association (AAA) is giving students annual tips and recommendations for driving on roads with bad conditions.

AAA Driver Training has partnered with OUWB for several years, and will present a winter safe driving seminar to new OUWB students in the fall. This is primarily aimed to support the students’ learning and understanding of new driving techniques to preparing their vehicles and themselves for the winter weather driving.

 “The goal of the AAA Driver Training winter driving seminar is to help keep drivers safe on the road,” Rachel Wilson, lead instructor for AAA Driver Training and an alumna of OU, said. “Winter driving can be very challenging, even for experienced drivers. So, we want to give the OUWB students as much information as we can.”

According to the class profile on the website of OUWB, the school has many students from warmer states, such as California, Arizona and Georgia. Wilson also mentioned this seminar will be meaningful, especially for those who are from out-of-state and are new to Michigan winter.

Nayiri Khatchadourian is a first-year student at OUWB who came from California. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Khatchadourian has never experienced snow in her hometown. This made her transition challenging in the beginning.

“I never had to wait for my car to heat up before I drive it in LA,” Khatchadourian said. “The snow was blocking my entrance to the garage, so my sweet neighbor helped me navigate how to drive through it.

Michigan weather not only bothered her at home, but also on her way to and from school. Having to drive 15 minutes to get to school almost everyday, the start of her first-ever winter in Michigan was quite rough.

“My first-ever snow day was actually a record-breaking snow day for Michigan,” she said. “It was snowing heavily and my car almost slipped a couple times even though I was driving really slow.

As she continued her life in Michigan, she said she was pleased to find an opportunity where she can acquire tips and recommendations on driving in the winter with bad road conditions.

“I was looking forward to this [AAA driver training seminar],” she said. “It was super helpful in teaching me what to do if something goes wrong, like my car slips.”

This annual seminar will continue to strive to achieve its goal to make sure no student is left behind in learning how to drive safely in severe road conditions, according to Wilson.

“We hope to continue working with OUWB for years to come with this presentation,” Wilson said.The most important thing is to slow down. Give yourself more time to do everything – braking, accelerating, and turning. Another great tip is to avoid driving in inclement weather if you can and allow the roads to clear before heading out.”

Providing these tips and recommendations to students, OUWB’s partnership with AAA can not only benefit the students with their driving skills, but also with their safety.