Last week saw the earliest start to a British winter for seventeen years, plummeting temperatures and freezing Baltic winds meant that Britain spent the better part of a week in the icy grip of a snow storm. The conditions caused havoc across the country, forcing schools to close and business to run on skeleton staffing, once again proving that Britain is very much ill-equipped to deal with such extreme weather.
The main reason for the disruption was the fact that transport links were rendered virtually impassible by all but the most heavy duty of snow cats. Gritters were out in force the in days before the snow settled but a smattering of salt on the asphalt did little to aid motorists efforts after it was covered by a foot or so of powder.
Indeed the M25 resembled an ice rink at the height of the bad weather, causing massive tailbacks and thousands of unwelcome extended commutes. Many were forced to sleep in their cars as the lucky few arrived home from work in the early hours of the morning. The smart money was on travelling by foot, or even better, staying in by a roaring fire.
Of course some had no choice but to make a journey and brave the treacherous, slippery roads. While the weather has subsided for the moment, it would be wise to get prepared for the next inevitable deluge coming our way, after all, it’s only December!
Having a can of De-Icer in the car is essential as you never know when your screen could freeze up. A fully charged mobile phone is a must, it will be your lifeline if you happen to become stranded or suffer accident, two occurrences that are certainly not outside the realms of possibility in such conditions. Ensure you also have the number of your Breakdown service at hand.
Carry a sufficient supply of food and water to keep you and your passengers going if you do get stranded, it is crucial to stay hydrated at all times. Above all, exercise caution when driving and don’t take any risks. The ideal situation in these conditions would be to have a vehicle that was designed to cope with tricky terrain, a 4x4 perhaps, or even better, an Ice Racing car!
Ice racing is a form of competitive motorsport that takes place on, you guessed it, ice tracks! The cars are specially designed to be able to drive as fast on the tundra as normal racing cars do on tarmac. With narrow, spiked tires these machines provide an incredible amount of grip on a surface that would have regular cars performing pirouettes!
If only we had one of these beasts to help us get out of Tesco’s car park, the snow would barely phase us! Unfortunately the speed-focused beasts cost upwards of £300,000 and certainly wouldn’t keep you warm or comfortable for long with their sparse, lightweight interiors! Best just to stick to your Ford Fiesta!