Friday, February 01, 2008

Snow on the Pennines

I listened this evening to a news report about lorries stranded by snow, including a phone call from one of the drivers. The weather has been forecast for a week, so you might have thought that a sensible person might have made sure that they had extra food, warm clothing - or found a route that avoided areas that were vulnerable to snow - or just found somewhere safe to park up until it was clear.

Instead, the driver complained about the fact that "nothing had been done", given the notice. Roads hadn't been gritted (actually, I suspect that they had - but grit is for getting rid of lying ice and snow primarily; it doesn't stop a heavy snowfall from blocking a road, and of course once a road is blocked, it isn't easy to clear); people hadn't come along and given him food; the police hadn't arrived to tell him what was happening. So there he was, stranded, down to his last litre of water with just one meal available.

Hmm. Perhaps we ought to learn to take responsibility for ourselves to a greater extent, chaps? The idea of warnings about weather is that we as individuals respond to them - not that we assume that this is something for everybody else to do. Of course snow messes up roads - it messes up airports as well, which is why pilots prepare for delays and de-ice aeroplanes - they don't simply assume that the weather forecast is for other people to respond to. The driver's comments were sadly symptomatic of a society in which people have come to expect everything to be sorted out for them - even the weather.