Inclement Weather Reminder with Safe Driving Tips

November 27, 2023

With winter weather upon us, students, faculty and staff should take a few minutes to make sure they are familiar with the university’s emergency protocols.

Staff should also review the policies relating to procedures and leave during inclement weather.

The Suspended Operations Policy only applies if the president or her designee declares the closure of the university. For classified employees, the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Eastern Washington University and the Washington Federation of State Employees, article 32.9 includes further provisions related to suspended operations. If employees request to leave or not report to work because they have concerns regarding the weather or driving conditions, employees must take vacation leave, compensatory time, if applicable, or leave without pay. (**Be sure to check out the winter safety tips from John Shields, safety officer for EWU Environmental Health and Safety, that are posted below.)

Please note that closure of the university will apply to the Cheney and all Spokane campuses and facilities. Also of note, the University Recreation Center on the Cheney Campus will remain open, subject to available staffing.

Please visit ewu.edu/emergency for full details, resources and an FAQ on how the university makes its decision to open/close during inclement weather.

Supervisors, please be sure to notify your employees as to whether they are considered essential personnel during periods of suspended operations. In addition, meet with your faculty and/or staff to review the policy to ensure they understand the procedures.

If you haven’t done so already, faculty, staff and students should sign up for EWU Alerts to receive official university notifications via text message, phone call or email. You can also check the Snow Line (359.SNOW) during poor weather conditions. Employees, if you have any questions, please contact your assigned Human Resource Associate.


**Winter Safety Tips from John Shields, safety officer for EWU Environmental Health and Safety:

Winter can be surprising. Below zero temperatures, wind, rain turning to ice, snow drifts, icy roads, closed roads. What’s one to do?  The best you can. Be prepared. Check the weather before you take a trip. If there is a bad storm on its way, you may want to hold off traveling.

If you are traveling here are a few things to keep in mind:


  • Wear multiple layers of clothing. Layers can trap warm air between them. And, if you get too warm, you can take off a layer.
  • Wear proper footwear, such as waterproof, insulated boots with good traction.
  • Wear winter gloves and a winter hat.
  • When driving, bring extra gear with you.


  • Make sure it is winterized.
  • Coolant is good for the temperature encountered.
  • Make sure oil is good and tire pressure is good.
  • Carry extra gear to keep you warm, such as a sleeping bag and extra warm clothes.
  • Bring water, snack, shovel and a phone charger (may not have service).
  • Always let someone know where you will be.
  • Rural Roads: If it was a good road in the summer, it may not be used in the winter, so stay off.


  • If you must go out in the fog, always have your lights (and fog lights if you have them) on.
  • Always keep your lights at low beam.
  • Slow your speed down.
  • Remember, there will always be someone going slower in front of you and, almost always, someone gong faster coming up from behind.
  • Nighttime makes foggy conditions worse. Know the lane you’re in and pay attention to the lines on the road to help you stay on the road.
  • If it is freezing out, the fog can freeze and make roads icy and slick.  If conditions are really bad, try to find a place you can pull off that is away from the road.

Ice and Snow

  • If roads are really dangerous, sometimes the best course of action is to stay put.
  • Practice driving in the snow. Put your vehicle into a slight skid and practice correcting for the skid. If you do this, know your surroundings. Watch for light poles and curbs. It is best to do this in areas without cars and people. An area like Lot 12 could work.
  • Hills can be tricky in the snow. Don’t stop while on a hill, because slick conditions can lead to you sliding. Don’t drive too quickly. You might lose traction on your way up the hill if you hit the gas, and you don’t know what conditions await on the downslope. If you can, stay off of hills.
  • If you do get into a skid, stay in your vehicle. Do not jump out of a moving vehicle. If you’re in a pile up, look around before getting out of the car. You could get hit by another vehicle. If you must get out of the way from the wreckage, in case another car slams into the pile up, do it carefully.

For additional safety tips, check Shields’ full article on the EWU Environmental Health and Safety webpage.