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How Britain Coped During the Big Freeze
As the country begins to breathe life again after the debilitating weather of the past week, is it fair to say we failed to cope?, or was the weather too severe to have been able to cope with properly?
After the initial excitement and chaos that the snow storms had brought, we were left with the realisation that things were actually beginning to get even worse. The snow that lay across the ground was rapidly becoming compacted, and trodden in, and the cold temperatures that followed the whiteout were hardening the snow day by day. Suddenly, it wasn’t the snow that we were all worried about, but the ice that now formed all round us.
It was hard enough trying to manoeuvre our vehicles along the snowy roads, but now that the ice had taken up residence, suddenly more and more vehicles became stranded. People all around struggled to get out of their roads, whereas others could not even negotiate their own driveways. This all said, the conditions were awful, and it was left to the four-wheel drivers to show off their vehicles and make the rest of us look inadequate.
But could we have done more to prevent this? Many people would undoubtedly have agreed with this, as the news programs on all channels were littered with complaints about how little we actually did. Roads were not gritted in time, or not at all. Some major roads were breaking up leaving potholes. Others were struggling with the thickness of the ice. Aid to those who needed it was not getting through quick enough, and regular services were severely interrupted.
Let me tell you what I think about the whole situation. In my opinion, we always look to find a hate figure in every major event. There is always somebody, somewhere, who fits the description of someone to blame. It’s the gritters fault for not gritting the roads, or the councils fault for the state of the roads. Maybe we could blame the government again for not foreseeing this and for not being prepared. It’s all blame, blame, blame, and it drives me up the wall.
To begin with, as we are not use to this weather on a regular basis, we don’t have the numbers of gritting lorries that would be adequate to cover the country on short notice. To have the right amount would cost a lot of money, and would not be used the rest of the year. And guess who would have to pay for this? Those we do have were used around the clock to clear as many of the main roads as possible. The heavy snowfall that continued relentlessly covered the grit that was being laid, causing more problems. And people don’t seem to understand that grit will not make the snow simply disappear. It helps with grip, and to minimise snow laying on the surface, but it cant eradicate it altogether. It is up to the drivers to use due care and attention. So lets not blame the gritters I say.
Secondly, I think we can all agree that the roads are in a state of emergency in many places, but this is due to the weather. The water gets into the cracks, freezes, expands, and then cracks the road. Eventually the road breaks up around the crack leaving a pothole. We can’t expect the council to ensure every road in every town in the entire country is completely crack-free, stopping water from entering these cracks in the first place. It is simply not possible. Wear and tear happens, and again, we would need a whole lot of extra workers and machinery to be able to maintain all the roads, all year round. This will cost money, a lot of it, and think of all the disruption to daily commuting if the roads were continually being maintained.
The snow fell at a staggering rate, leaving roads impassable. It is no surprise that aid wasn’t getting through. But we can’t blame people for this. If a road is impassable, it is impassable. You can’t defy the laws of physics. The army was drafted in to help with aid, but there will always be those who don’t receive the aid. This is unfortunate of course, but every effort was being made.
It is just nature’s way when events like this happen. And where we can do all we can to try to prevent disruption, unfortunately, disruption will happen. Its my opinion that people should just live with it, and to try to help those around them, instead of looking for someone to point the finger at. It would take a super-human race to be able to cope with anything, and we are not there just yet.
So can we give these people a break, and perhaps applaud them for the work they have done, and to realise that without this help, nobody would be out on the roads at all, even one week after the snow.
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