Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snowbound

When Britain is suffering its worst winter for 30 years, and roads everywhere are treacherous, I do wonder at the idiocy and selfishness of people making totally avoidable car journeys and then getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Up to 1000 vehicles were stuck on the A3 in Hampshire last night. Some people were evacuated to rescue centres while others had to stay in their vehicles all night in plummeting temperatures.

A 23 year old woman, eight months pregnant, her 13 month old daughter and a male friend, were marooned overnight in the snow, also in Hampshire. She complained that there was nobody to help her and no sign of the police or army.

Journalists don't seem to have asked any of these beleaguered motorists "Is your journey really necessary?" There have been endless warnings not to travel unless you absolutely have to, yet people are still heading off into the snow and ice regardless.

Then they expect instant rescue if they get stuck, no matter how expensive or difficult the rescue operation. The breakdown and emergency services are run off their feet with calls for help, yet still motorists expect every snowbound Tom, Dick and Harriet to be bailed out immediately.

Where on earth were those 1000 motorists going on a freezing winter's evening? Work is unlikely, or any routine daily chores. If they were visiting friends or relatives, or having an evening out, how exactly is that necessary? Can it not wait until the weather improves?

I especially wonder at the apparent foolishness of the eight months pregnant woman. Why was she making that obviously risky 50-mile journey? Did she not realise how dangerous it was?

Clearly the most vital motoring accessory is not a jack or a torch but a dictionary that includes the word "necessary".

15 comments:

Cinnamon said...

ha, ha that was nearly me today! Y'see Nick, here in the South we are so soft- we are snow-virgins, totally naive! Being a healthcare worker I did feel honour bound to try- but wasn't going to walk the 16 miles. Though I suppose a hundred years ago, 16 miles would have been quite unremarkable. I am going to try again tomorrow- but will take an overnight bag with me in case I have to kip at the surgery :)

Nick said...

Cinnamon - Are you saying you work nights or just that you have to try to get to work? I must say I really applaud all the health workers and other vital employees who struggle to work despite the appalling conditions. And I should take plenty of food as well as the overnight bag!

Wisewebwoman said...

I wouldn't judge people, Nick, unless I knew their individual stories.
I've been caught in dreadful storms. I tend to disbelieve forecasts for one as so many are incorrect.
The weather is crazy at the moment, here in NL we are literally basking in +5, out walking in sweatshirts while it seems like the rest of Canada and UK are drowning in the white stuff.
How's NI?
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - That's why I said "apparent foolishness" as I don't know the details of her journey. But people do seem to be very reckless. We had our first substantial snowfall in NI today but driving is still possible. Sub-zero temperatures at night and often during the day as well.

Baino said...

Does seem a bit cavallier to venture out in such extreme conditions. Although I think there's a fair expectation that major roads will be clear. I think this level of snow has caught people offguard. Similarly here though, if we have floods as we often do in Queensland during Jan/Feb, people feel the need to try to traverse fast running rivers and sometimes at the expense of their lives rather than just sit it out and wait.

Megan said...

I'd not be going anywhere, that's for sure. I wonder what they were thinking?

Nick said...

Baino - The problem is that the major roads are generally clear but most of the side roads and country roads are iced up and snow-blocked so a lot of drivers can't reach the main roads. Have a look at Cinnamon's post on her frustrating journey!

Megan - Not going anywhere is the wisest course right now! Just curl up with a good book. Unless your work is absolutely vital, that is.

Scarlet Blue said...

I don't think people realise just how tricky it is to drive on ice. If they've never experienced it they wouldn't realise how perilous it is.
They'll be learning the hard way then...
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - You're right. We learn how to react to skids but skating on ice is another thing entirely. So there're plenty of wrecked cars out there. The garages must be rubbing their hands with glee.

Rummuser said...

People will be people. Every year in India, people in vehicles get washed away in flooded waters because they think that their vehicles are four wheel drives. Many do other foolish things like driving down a mountain side for the same thing. I gave up thinking about these lunatics a long time ago.

Grannymar said...

I am staying put cosy and warm until my food runs out. I tested that theory earlier in the year and eat well for three to four weeks!

Nick said...

Ramana - Yes, that's another factor, drivers who think their cars are somehow miracle machines that can cope effortlessly with any natural hazard.

Grannymar - Good thinking. Why brave the elements unless you have to?

Leah said...

I'm always reading news stories about people putting themselves in harm's way--fire, flood, storms--unnecessarily. The worst is when they risk the emergency workers' lives, when they have to be rescued from their foolishness!

Eternally Distracted said...

I totally agree. The same here happens when it rains. It rains about three times a year but everything comes to a standstill as the country floods badly, unfortunately lives are lost but the warnings are the same as in the UK. Unfortunately you always get the minority who take the risks and bare the consequences. Very sad.

Nick said...

Leah - That's it in a nutshell, they have to be rescued, and the rescuers may be risking their own lives also.

Eternally - Quite a sizeable minority too. People think they can simply carry on as normal, despite the extreme weather.