Letter: Travelling light no way to cope with snow

Douglas Johnston was right to point out that articulated lorries are a major cause of blocked roads (Letters, 22 December).

Drivers of these vehicles will be the first to admit that they are practically useless on snow and ice when travelling light or empty.

The solution is to place two cubes of concrete, each weighing about two and a half tonnes, on their flatbed trailers, one above the driving wheels and the other above the rear axles.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The use of these "Kelly blocks" means that the haulage operators will lose five tonnes from their payloads when there is snow and ice on the roads.

This is a small price to pay for keeping their lorries on the road and their drivers safe from potentially fatal jackknifing because trailer brakes come on a few milliseconds before the tractor units'.

Car drivers could do themselves a big favour by applying a similar strategy by putting about 100kg of sand/grit in the boot of their rear-wheel drive cars.

A large old suitcase is ideal for this. Remember to put a small shovel in the boot as well because you may need some of it to get going.

For front-wheel drive cars put a similar weight of sand in the front passenger foot well.

This was not necessary in the "good old days" when front-wheel drive engines were a lot heavier than they are now. Passengers will just have to sit in the back.

Mr Johnston's suggestion of heating roads using renewable energy has merit. Not allowing snow to lie would be a lot cheaper than clearing it by pouring on expensive salt and grit.

It makes perfect sense and should be adopted as soon as possible to give our country permanent resilience against such adverse weather conditions.

Andrew H Mackay


Tain, Ross-shire

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Why do we just blame the government when we cannot cope with the snow?

Readers who missed Wednesday's discussion on Radio 4 may be interested in what happens in some other countries: snow ploughs and special equipment are used instead of salt, which may cause damage.

A pair of winter-grade tyres are fitted, taxpayers' money is well spent employing farmers to keep rural roads open with their tractors, and those without work may be employed to clear paths with shovels. Also, trucks can be banned from motorways to prevent them from jackknifing.

The answer to an objection that essential supplies would not be able to get through was simple: use suitable smaller lorries.

I managed to drive across Europe in the snow until well over 70 just with a pair of snow-chains.

Malby Goodman

High Street

Aberdour, Fife

Heated skirts for ailing trains (your report, 20 December)? My, my.Back in the 1950s our primitive methods kept the trains running during a similar winter.

The recipe then for frozen points on the main line? Put the station master's wife in the signal box while the station master and porter dug out frozen points.

They waved a lamp, I pulled a lever, and half an hour later we ensured that the first train in the morning ran on time.

Ah, those innocent, dedicated days.

Alison Muir

Ashley Drive


Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Personally, I blame the Minister of Global Warming for the travel chaos. He should consider his position. What? There isn't any Minister of Global Warming? There must be one for Global Freezing then. Has to be!

Ian Johnstone

Forman Drive