Friday, 4 November 2011
This post may read like a public service broadcast but I make no apology. After the last two winters here in Scotland 'Every Little Helps' as a supermarket insists.
The Scottish government has very clearly learned from last winter when the main motorway between Edinburgh and Glasgow ground to a halt for hours, leaving many motorists stuck in their vehicles with no food or beverage and more importantly, little idea of driving in such conditions. The public were warned of the extreme conditions but many ignored the broadcasts or decided not to listen to them in the first place.
The result of last year's gridlock in the central belt? The resignation of Stewart Stevenson.
His replacement, the ex-marine Keith Brown, isn't going to be found lacking in communication skills this year and has introduced a detailed package to ensure motorists, as well as public transport, have accurate, up-to-date information to allow them to plan and amend their journeys in the event of sever weather.
Transport Scotland's internet based travel dashboard gives users one-stop access to real time travel information while the new 24/7 Traffic Scotland internet radio service ( mobile version here) will broadcast travel bulletins to listeners about conditions on motorways and trunk roads.
Knowing that all this information is available 24/7, there is no reason whatsoever for motorists to travel unless their routes are clear. Human nature being what it is, of course there will be those who ignore advice but they deserve to be left stranded.
I still think the Scottish government should create some scheme to ensure that all drivers in Scotland fit their vehicles with winter tyres between November and March. Not only would such a policy create employment in the short term, but it would also ensure people like me, who has done so, feel much safer knowing that others on the road have the same grip. There will be many who say they can't afford winter tyres and I understand that, but when they trade in their car they should be able to achieve a price which includes their expense on the tyres, minus depreciation. Such a policy would or should reduce insurance premiums and if not, why not.
Now I've finished my public broadcast, I have to find a solution to quickly getting rid of the condensation on the inside of my windscreen. The other night I sat for over five minutes waiting for it to clear and that was after doing my best with a wad of kitchen towel.
Oh the joys of winter travel. Never mind, in another couple of months we'll be on our way to Spring.