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The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

Icy roads pose dangerous threat

Tyler Roberts
Mr. West, director of facilities, helped get senior Tyler Roberts’ car unstuck from ice.

Have you ever felt your brakes lock up on the ice? That feeling when you can’t get control of your vehicle and you’re forced into sliding into the side of the road or possibly even crashing into another car? At SCH roads go unplowed and new and old drivers alike are left high and dry.

On the week of January 14th, SCH Community members were unable to get to school safely as a result of icy, unplowed roads in and around Chestnut Hill.

SCH is located on the outskirts of the city of Philadelphia. The side streets and tiny roads around the school are among the least concern to the city’s streets department. Dr. Dinkins, head of school, acknowledged that “technically the city of Philadelphia Streets Department is responsible for plowing the streets; however, they have been… uneven in terms of their consistency of [plowing] and doing it well.”

Because the Chestnut Hill roads get so bad, if you don’t have a truck or SUV, or at the very least a front wheel drive car to get you to and from school when it snows, you might as well catch a ride with someone who does. The roads around Chestnut Hill are very unforgiving to new drivers, especially those who lack the right vehicles for driving in harsh weather.

I personally got my permit on February 15, 2023, and the last time there was more than an inch of snow in Philadelphia was January 29, 2022. I’m lucky to drive a Ford F-150, a large pickup truck with all wheel drive. My car does well in the snow, but plenty of others at SCH do not, and especially not in the icy streets of Chestnut Hill.

The lack of snow within the past few years has made it so that none of the juniors and sophomores who drive to school now ever had to learn to drive in the snow to get their licenses.

This influx of new drivers without any knowledge of how to drive in the snow, along with students having ill-equipped vehicles has led to at least five instances of SCH student accidents on and around campus.

Junior Conor Murphey described his experience as “miserable.” He was forced to drive his smaller car into a snowbank to avoid rear-ending a fellow driver on Willow Grove Ave because of the ice. Murphey noted that he thought the conditions were quite dangerous and that school should have been canceled.

Senior Tyler Roberts, who obtained his license in October of 2022, was involved in a spin out on the morning of Wednesday, January 17th. Roberts said he felt as though he “had no control over his vehicle.” Another senior, Isabella Banko, added that even in 4-wheel-drive her “brakes locked up on the ice” and she ended up crashing into a car at a stop sign in front of her.

More tenured drivers like seniors Ryan Kull and Danny Reagan, who have had their licenses for two and a half years, had much less difficulty. Danny Reagan did have difficulty on ice in the past and advised newer drivers to “pump their brakes and take it slow.”

When the city fails to plow the streets around Chestnut Hill and SCH fails to cancel school, senior Ryan Kull advises that “slow and steady wins the race…. you’d much rather get to school late than never get here at all.”

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  • K

    Kate McTamneyFeb 25, 2024 at 9:44 am

    I’m proud of you for taking on something out of your wheel house. Well done!!!

  • B

    Brian DoughertyFeb 9, 2024 at 12:14 pm

    Spot on Matthew! As I practiced driving on the icy roads with my permit I realized how dangerous it can be.

  • K

    Ken VaughanFeb 9, 2024 at 12:05 pm

    This is great Matt, as a newer driver myself I can relate to your article.

  • N

    Nate KnorrFeb 9, 2024 at 9:22 am

    Great insight on the icy roads Matt!

  • J

    Jake WarrenFeb 9, 2024 at 7:33 am

    Love it Matt, good interviews and anaylsis about the roads