UK Motorists suffering Heavy Snow, Icy Roads

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From the Heathrow airport website, the fourth busiest airport in the world which normally moves about 200,000 people every day, “Heathrow Airport is not accepting any arrivals on Sunday, 19 December, and is managing a handful of departures”.

This winter, Great Britain has been experiencing the coldest and snowiest conditions it has seen in a very long time, in some cases since record keeping began. The UK Met Office website maps seem to be continuously colored orange with severe weather warnings while temperatures plummet and the ice and snow pile up.

What is the best survival advice for motorists traveling in snow, cold, or ice? The best advice is not to travel (sensible enough).

Traveling by car in such conditions will risk becoming stranded, or worse – an accident.

If stranded long enough without adequate heat, hypothermia may set in, resulting in a downward spiral beginning with uncontrollable shaking followed by clumsiness, apathy, confusion and slurred speech, and eventually a state of comatose and eventual death. Plan to stay warm.

  • Be wearing, or bring warm clothes, a winter jacket, hat, gloves, and proper shoes or boots. Most body heat escapes through the head, while your feet and hands will be first to numb.
  • Always have a mini survival kit in the vehicle containing at least some food and water (72 hour kits are becoming more commonplace)
  • Shovel – spade
  • Flashlight -torch
  • Ice scraper, de-icer fluid
  • Jumper cables
  • If you can fit it, some sand – salt – grit, in case you run off the road and your tires need some help with traction to get out. Strips of carpet placed in front of the driven tires (front wheel versus rear wheel drive) often works too.
  • A full tank of petrol

The ingredients of a good 72 hour kit will vary as widely as the number of people you ask. Take the time to plan and fill a backpack or bag with some bare essentials and tools, and tuck it away in your vehicle’s trunk for the day you hope you will never need it.

As long as the prevailing weather pattern remains, the UK and neighboring regions will continue to deal with unfamiliar travel conditions and precautions, not experienced in some peoples lifetimes.

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