During the winter months driving becomes dangerous for many reasons, such as snow, black ice, and impaired vision. All these winter conditions greatly reduce a driver’s capability to make a smooth and safe stop, and make a turn around a snow or ice-covered corner, but what are some tips to drive safe during these conditions? What are the best ways to drive during winter?
Kayhi maritime teacher Rick Collins has some knowledge for winter drivers.
“Make sure you watch the road conditions. If you see sparkly ice in your headlights, you know reflecting from your headlights at night okay, that would give you an indication that you have icy road conditions,” said Collins. “You have to think about the temperature – were the roads wet today? And is the temperature now down below freezing? And if that’s the case than you really need to pay attention for black ice and things like that.”
Some people say black ice is the most dangerous part about driving in the winter; others say it’s the wet snow that don’t allow your tires to grip the ground causing you to slide when you try to apply pressure to your breaks. What most people don’t know is the right time to use your brakes and how much pressure to use.
“You want to apply reasonable amount of brake pressure before you turn, because that will shift the momentum of your car forward, and put a little bit more weight on your front tires. When you make a corner your front tires will be a little bit more weighted and less likely to push through the corner,” Said Collins. “I think it’s really important to get out to a really open parking lot somewhere, and practice a little bit. Like learn to correct slides, but you know don’t drive reckless to where you are going to run into something but, get used to cars sliding a little bit and get used to how they handle in the snow.”
Another important factor during winter driving is the type of vehicle that you use, with the right type of tires. A two-wheel drive vehicle is probably not the best choice if you were going to drive with snow or ice on the road. Kayhi junior Brayden Linne knows a little bit about what type of vehicle to drive during the winter.
“All-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and four wheel drive vehicles are a must in Ketchikan. We don’t get a lot of snow but when we do, we have hills and we have congested traffic, and you know those are a bad combination,” said Linne. “Having good tires and make sure you have tires that are suitable for winter driving conditions, but if your running out with slick worn out tires your maneuverability and braking is going to be greatly reduced. Basically go slow so you don’t rear end somebody when you try to stop. Pump the brakes so you don’t slide”.
What’s the most dangerous part about winter driving?
“Black ice. You don’t know it’s there and it’s slick,” said Linne. “Drivers are unaware driving at a high rate of speed on poorly lit highways and not realizing that they hit black ice, so I think that’s a really dangerous combination,”
Many people have crashed and have gotten in close calls because of winter driving conditions. Rick tells his close call.
“One time driving down the hill from Smithers, we had cold weather up on top of the mountain where we were skiing. Partway down the mountain, a layer of snow and the ice melted and made a lot of water on the road. The temperature dropped and the ice kind of flooded over the rocks. It became a gravel road so there weren’t any rocks to grip from, and we ended up with about a half inch to an inch of snow to about an inch of snow covering the ice.” said Collins. “We were then driving in an inch of fresh snow with gravel underneath but we found out later that we were driving on an inch of snow with ice underneath. There is this one corner on that hill that is sloped the wrong direction and we barely caught the edge of the snowbank and we were able to get out. Later that day there were about fifteen cars that got wrecked.”
The Rotary Interact Daddy-Daughter Dance will be taking place on this Sunday from 2-4 P.M. The dance will be held at Kayhi in the commons. All the proceeds go to TAFCOM, a Tanzanian organization that facilitates community development projects.
It’s no secret that the United States trails other countries in the classroom, but
would the United States be willing to sacrifice its sports supremacy to fix its educational system?
Kayhi principal Bob Marshall believes participating in high school sports has positive impacts that go beyond academics.
“[The] team element–where you’re having to work with people– [is] going to be huge one day in the workplace, but also in life,” said Marshall. “With sports, your going to have those competitions but there’s rules and regulations. Which just like life, there’s going to be competition but you have to work within the guidelines that are presented.”
For Kayhi senior baseball player, Tug Olson, sports don’t only benefit the athletes participating in them, but the entire school is positively influenced by them.
“[School sports] keep morale up. Xavier (the exchange student from Belgium) was telling us they don’t have school sports in Belgium, and he loves it here,” said Olson. “He gets to go out and cheer, participate, and have his fellow high schoolers cheer him on. It’s a whole other experience.”
Sports clearly play a considerable role in students’ lives that affect them in other ways besides their academic performance.
Kayhi vocational teacher and business owner Todd Henke thinks sports also play a larger, more communal role.
“Is the whole athletic program apart of the community identity? I think in a small town it definitely is,” said Henke. “It helps the community in being a community. It gives a sense of pride and belonging.”
Countries like South Korea and Singapore do indeed have better performing education institutions without the use of athletics. But, these are also the same countries which are described as “pressure-cookers” when it comes to academia.
Teacher Joey Fama, who has wrestled and is now coaching at Kayhi, was surprised at the strictness and high stress environment of South Korean schooling.
“I had an exchange student from South Korea a couple years ago, and it was pretty crazy hearing about the testing amount and how stressed they are,” said Fama. “I mean there were suicides.”
The system that boasts efficiency and success comes with a cost.
“She couldn’t do what she wanted to do for a career,” said Fama. “In third grade she got a B on her English test, and now she can’t be a doctor.”
When exchange students like Xavier come to the United States, they say high school is fun and are surprised with different schooling experiences. With all the focus being on graduation rates, GPAs, and so on, the fun aspect of high school may get neglected in other countries.
Marshall thinks the emotional well being of students is just as important as their success in school. Sports meet the emotional needs of students.
“I think investing in those type of activities is important and it’s not a waste of money,” said Marshall. “I just think it’s fun. Most people when they do it, have some enjoyment. It gets kids involved that otherwise wouldn’t be.”
The Kayhi Kings (4-4) are facing off against the Bartlett Golden Bears (2-3) in their first game of O’Brady’s Invitational at Bartlett High School in Anchorage. Kayhi Junior Marcus Lee said he is hopeful of a third consecutive championship in this tournament.
“This is the third year being invited to this tournament, and the last two years we came out on top,” said Lee. “We’re favored to win, and we feel a little bit of pressure, but we wouldn’t want to be in any other spot right now.”
The Ketchikan Public Health Center reported that the number of flu cases in Ketchikan has doubled from last year. Ketchikan High School Principal Bob Marshall is fully aware of the problem and wants to take care of it.
“Anytime a student misses class, there’s going to be things that they miss that could ultimately cause them to get behind and I know with the current flu, people are out for days.”
The Department of Health and Services has taken action and has spread awareness.
“The Ketchikan Public Health Center wanted to reach out to the school district about this year’s flu season, the number of confirmed flu cases have double from last year, the entire country is seeing increase cases of flu. It is so important to prevent the flu by vaccination, proper cough etiquette, hand hygiene, and stay home when ill.”
The Kayhi Debate team will travel to Sitka today to compete in their third regional meet of the season. Ketchikan will be competing against six other teams including Haines and Skagway.
The resolve that will be debated is whether or not NCAA student-athletes should be recognized as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Kayhi wrestling team is hosting the Region V tournament today Friday Dec. 8th, and tomorrow Saturday Dec. 9th. Every southeast team is participating, including the combined Juneau teams. The 3A and girls tournament will start Friday at 4 p.m., the 4A tournament will start Saturday at 10:30 a.m., and the finals will kick off at 7 Saturday night.
Coach Rick Collins said that although the team isn’t what it used to be, they hope to have enough remaining wrestlers to take the Region title for the tenth year in a row.
“We’ve got a lot of injuries still, and a lot of people dealing with disciplinary issues as well as people who quit,” said Collins. “Basically we’re just a shell of what we were supposed to be this year, but I’m really proud of the kids who’ve done the right thing and worked hard through the season. We’ve still got a good product and we still feel that we’ve got a shot at another region title.”
Kayhi seniors Justin Albecker and Nate Eisenhower are both very excited for this year’s region tournament. Albecker said he hopes to see some wrestlers take first place.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment all year. Post season is always my favorite time of year,” said Albecker. “I believe we will still have a great impact at regions, but we are a skeleton of the team we used to have. We’ll still have some state placers for sure though.”
Eisenhower said he is excited that his last regions tournament is at home.
“I have looked forward to my senior year of wrestling for a long time now, it is really exciting to have my last region tournament at home,” said Eisenhower. “I expect if the team performs up to their best capability, we’ll take home another title.”