Saturday, 18 December 2010

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful

I spent some quality time with my car today - just me, a billion tons of snow ... oh, and half the motoring population of the UK in perma-gridlock. The quality in question was the quality that only quantity can bring. 6 hours to drive 60 miles. So, we light upon the focus of today's post. Is it the inability of any Government of the day to deal with snow in this country? Is it the fact that our 'torrential dump' of snow is utterly mundane in other countries who seem not to grind to a halt when the big Pete Doherty in the sky sneezes? Is it the various truckers attempting to recreate their favourite scenes from Strictly Come Dancing on Ice Factor, sliding sideways down the arterial routes of the country?

Nope. It's tough. I sympathise with the Government. I sympathise with the truckers. Yes, we could indeed have a fleet of 100,000 snow ploughs waiting for the 4.6 days a year that it snows and we could buy all the salt and grit on earth. But then you couldn't have A&E, or primary schools. Perhaps the maths doesn't quite marry up, but you get the point - you can't do everything with limited means, and boy are our means currently limited.

No, the focus of today's splurge of literal anger are thoughtless motorists. Now I am not suggesting we ban anyone not in a snowmobile from the roads or all have to take special snow driving tests or have winter tyres from November to February. Snow is a bit tricky - I had a couple of moments myself today, wonderful motorist that I am (in my totally unsuitable 2 wheel drive child's go-kart of a car) - and people can easily get caught out. No, it is what some people do when they have been caught out.

Much of the delay I had today, and many others with me, was from sheer weight of traffic driving at a sensibly cautious speed. Much of it came from queues behind the unfortunate pirouetting cars, trucks, vans and assorted others who came a cropper. Hey-ho, I can't complain at those. I should have settled into a never-ending pint of cider in the local pub in front of the log fire. Unfortunately it was trying to get back to said pub that plunged me into the fray.

There were though some totally avoidable delays. It is at the architects of these that I now target my irrepressible ire; those caused by cars abandoned with an attitude so whimsical you had to double take to check that the Rubenesque Emmerdale woman wasn't about to hop out and tell you that you had been framed. At several points I queued to crawl past a car abandoned so far from the kerb an average orienteer would still require an ordnance survey map to locate said verge.

If you decide to call it a day and trek to the local hostelry / lie down naked in the snow for the Good Lord to take you, why not try a little bit to get your car out of the way first? Look around - everyone else has parked out of the way, but you seem set on creating your own version of the Senna S at Interlagos. Surely you don't want to add another half hour delay to all the poor buggers with better tyres / more moral fibre / a reckless abandon / a hire car? So, my message of festive cheer today is enjoy the snow at home if you can, go easy on the Government, and if you return to your car after the thaw and realise you are 'one of them', be a little more considerate next time. Remember, we're all in this together...

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