/ Mountain Rescue - again
From BBC Cumbria today
The A69 near Brampton has seen eight incidents.
And the force has called on mountain rescue volunteers four times to help people who have driven past "Road Closed" signs onto the A66, and got stuck.
The snow has blown over their vehicles and we actually had to have them dug out."
Supt Mark Pannone
During the floods in Aberdeenshire last year :Police Scotland prosecuted people who ignored 'ROAD CLOSED' signs.
Perhaps the roads in question should be blocked with a physical barrier?
Like a huge pile of white frozen water?
They normally do put the barriers down on the A66
Costs should come from Insurance policies of those driving thru Road Closed signs. Idiots.
Police should also publicly suggest that if you drive against their advice, it might have an effect on any insurance claims. Might make selfish people think twice?
I am snowed in, in an urban setting, but some of my neighbours think they aren't snowed in.
(to be clear, I could maybe dig out my wife's car and get it to the main road, probably wouldn't slide into anything parked. But probably is not good enough I think, so we are enjoying sledging...or wasting time on UKC ;)
> Police Scotland prosecuted people who ignored 'ROAD CLOSED' signs.
Good to hear. We are now hearing news of thousands of motorists trapped by snow all over the country. Hundreds of crashes all over the country. It's difficult to feel sympathy for these idiots. It's not as though they were taken by surprise by an unexpected storm. The advent of this weather was well predicted and publicised for days before it actually arrived.
Yellow, Orange and Red warnings went out in advance, yet still people ignored them.
You've only got to look back through history over the last few decades to see the effects of ice and snow on traffic 1947, 1963, 1975, 1982 to mention a few where not necessarily all over the country, but certainly in various local areas which were well publicised, yet thousands of idiots have chosen to ignore both the historical evidence and the police warnings.
Common sense tells us that if it was bad in the past it will be even worse now with so much more traffic on the roads.
Maybe insurance companies should decline to pay fully comp claims, apart from Third Party, where accidents have occurred on closed roads, or roads where drivers have chosen to ignore well publicised warnings or driven in Red Alert areas without reasonable cause. Otherwise police prosecutions seem a sensible way forward.
Maybe the police and fire services should also be properly funded, so they can deal with these issues, rather than being subject to sweeping cuts that leave them relying on volunteers funded by charitable donations...
This is a general tactic of the Tories: cut public services and expect volunteers and charities to take up the slack...
Maybe Mountain Rescue should complain/refuse to be used in this way? Just a thought!
Surely you could have mentioned Brexit in your post as well?
Looking at the public logbook I can see several UKC posters who drove round road closure signs to climb a rarely formed route in southern Scotland a few years back. I'm still glad I did.
Baron - do you live in Cumbria? Do you read the paper? Then you'll know how underfunded public services are in Cumbria and how deep the cuts have gone. Otherwise, jog on...!
You know that the mountain rescue are volunteers and choose to answer calls.
As do all other voluntary organisations.
Trying to make a political point doesn't address the point of this thread.
I don't think it's all that difficult to feel some sympathy for most of the people who got stuck or had accidents. Yes, most of them probably made some errors in judgement but haven't we all been there at some point?
I'm certain that lots of them would have been under pressure to make it into work. The school I work at was open on Wednesday morning and I drove down snowy roads in a thoroughly unsuitable car because if all the teachers who were in the same position chose not to then it would have caused chaos for the school and I didn't feel like I had much choice. I never felt at risk of a major accident because I drove cautiously and thought carefully about my route but I could easily have had a slow prang or slid into a drift that would have left me stuck. (I had enough kit with me to walk out if necessary.)
My job puts me under some degree of pressure to not let my colleagues and students down but there are plenty under even more pressure, either because they have unstable work with a crap company that might reduce their hours if they don't make it in or because their job seems particularly critical (or both, in some cases!).
Yes, the weather was well forecast and extensively discussed but that still doesn't make it an easy decision for some people to stay home. There have also been plenty of false alarms and overreactions from the media in the past to make people doubt them.
Thanks for explaining the meaning of 'voluntary' and, coincidentally, exemplifying the meaning of 'patronising'. But, something to realise is that being patronising is not the same thing as making intelligent conversation...
I was stating (hence the lack of a question mark at the end of my sentences) that you already knew that these people were volunteers but chose to ignore that fact to score a political point.
Traffic police in Cumbria have not had any cuts, indeed the PCC aims to increase the number of armed officers (and hence the number of ARV’s which double as traffic). So things not as desperate as you indicate.
There’s definitely a barrier on the Durham side, I thought there was one around Appleby.
> Yellow, Orange and Red warnings went out in advance, yet still people ignored them.
The Met Office send out all sorts of yellow, orange, pink, red mega-super weatherbomb defcom warnings. With the exception of Red they all mean 'the sort of weather you'd expect for this time of year'. If no-one went to work when one of these completely made up non-enforceable dulux colour chart warnings was 'in force’ the country would collapse and most people would be sacked for not turning up at work.
> Maybe insurance companies should decline to pay fully comp claims, apart from Third Party, where accidents have occurred on closed roads, or roads where drivers have chosen to ignore well publicised warnings or driven in Red Alert areas without reasonable cause. Otherwise police prosecutions seem a sensible way forward.
Insurance companies already refuse to pay up incidents as a result of driving past 'road closed' signs. Where I live the main road is prone to tidal flooding and the council are, understandably, quick to get the road closed signs out if there are high winds or a surge. However they're in no hurry to take them down, and haven't quite got the hang of this 'tide going out' idea. It's not uncommon for the road to be 'officially closed' for days for no reason. As a result, providing it's not high tide or the waves aren't breaking over the road, the signs are universally ignored by the locals. The diversion route, (which everyone should apparently be forced by police to use under pain of prosecution even if the road is obviously clear), is several miles of mud covered potholes that is far more hazardous than a few hundred yards which may have the odd patch of gravel and sand and the odd larger lump that people stop and chuck back on the beach.
I agree that there are some absolute muppets out there, (“The A66 is closed due to snow, I know, I'll follow my satnav up that narrow snow covered road the goes over that big fell”), but there are plenty of people who have good reason to ”ignore well publicised warnings”.
Today I worked from home, but the farmers and plumbers in my hamlet were ignoring a “well publicised” Amber warning to see to stock and fix pensioners' central heating. Lots of other people, including shop workers, call centre workers, ZHC people at warehouses, power engineers, MRTs and other volunteers were out as well. I don't believe every single one of these people had a winter equipped 4x4 and trained driver to get them to work.
They, like the vast majority of people today, looked at the weather forecast, the road warnings, what the lovely Carol Kirkwood was saying, and made a grown up judgement as to risks and necessity of their journeys.
Do we really think letting someone with an NVQ level 2 in 'winter preparedess' make that same decision with a tick box and 'guidance' instruction and then ban people in a huge geographic area from the roads is a major improvement?
> You know that the mountain rescue are volunteers and choose to answer calls.
In which case they are members of the public who have wilfully ignored the advice of the Police by being out in these conditions and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Indeed and especially as they probably went out ill equipped for the conditions!
I don't claim to work for the police, so I dunno how it is inside, but... http://www.itv.com/news/border/2017-07-31/cumbria-police-traffic-officer-numbers-slashed-40-percent/
This doesn't accord with what you're saying...
No cuts to traffic and an increase in numbers soon - Mrs C is a Cumbria copper, she knows.
> Like a huge pile of white frozen water?
The police and local MRT sometimes barricade the minor roads between Weardale and teesdale with mounds of snow to stop total morons following their satnav for a diversion when the Middleton to Alston road is closed.
So you saying we employ loads of extra firemen etc just in case we have the odd bad winter?? Yeah right
If you read those stories, they're not talking about speculative cuts. They're saying that in 2007 there were 127 Road Traffic Officers and in 2017 there were only 72. So...
No... I'm saying that cuts to existing fire services are damaging...
If you lot want to deny reality, then fair enough... Keep doing that, it's working great!!
Don’t believe everything they tell you, there’s ways and means of making cuts without making cuts!
> Police should also publicly suggest that if you drive against their advice, it might have an effect on any insurance claims. Might make selfish people think twice?
The major problem with this is that the Police will, as they always do, err considerably on the side of caution - in case of any legal liability maybe, but probably just as much so that they don't get blamed in the Press. To do this they assume that ALL drivers are complete morons.
Now I know there are many drivers who ARE morons - I went past 3 Land Rover Discoveries "parked" in the hedges and ditches last Friday on the way from Stratford to Worcester. A journey I completed without incident (apart from helping to dig out another 4WD from the "grass" verge) in my Ford Mondeo. I was not alone on the road, but everyone else I saw was driving sensibly and also showed no signs of impending disaster.
Your suggestion also completely ignores the fact that many people live or work along these routes, and not only have no choice in getting home, but also wouldn't know the road was "blocked" until they reached the exit.
> The major problem with this is that the Police will, as they always do, err considerably on the side of caution - in case of any legal liability maybe, but probably just as much so that they don't get blamed in the Press. To do this they assume that ALL drivers are complete morons.
^^^^^ This sums it up well. It's an exercise in liability, public protection and public relations. Sometimes roads are closed due to complete blockage - but the closure may start at the town/main junction at either end of that section of road. Only 10% of the road might be unpassable, but the other 90% is now out of access to law-abiding motorists. This happened all over North Wales in the 2013 spring snows - I went from being a passenger in an MRT Land Rover responding to various incidents to driving home in my own personal vehicle (another 4wd, as well kitted out as an MRT vehicle) on the same roads and suddenly being outside of the law and my insurance being invalid... A road closure doesn't necessarily mean death-on-a-stick beyond that point, it just means a line has been drawn in the sand (snow)... Weather like this is infrequent and the general public are a bit rubbish at driving on anything worse than damp tarmac. They also aren't very good at assessing risk objectively, or making good decisions - the average person doesn't have much knowledge about driving in deep snow, drifting snow, choosing routes or equipping themselves and their vehicle for bad weather. It's understandable why the decision is made to close a road, but if I can make it back home in my vehicle then I'll probably try to do so. As for the brave and selfless volunteers from MRT (and RNLI, HMCG, 4x4Response etc) out working in the snow... I can guarantee you that a good percentage of them very much enjoyed their time out rescuing members of their community - although it will have cost those charities (and individual team members) a lot in fuel and those costs may not be met by statutory agencies.
Odd. In the 13(ish) years I've been on the team - I've never seen this done.
Are you sure they weren't just drifts.
> Odd. In the 13(ish) years I've been on the team - I've never seen this done.
Someone from the team told me they did in 10/11 after repeatedly being called out to dig people out from passed the Road Closed sign. Perhaps my memory is failing me but I distinctly remember the conversation. Maybe it was a farmer’s doing or a tall tale. Or I’ve lost the plot.
Wouldn't surprise me if the police got local farmers to do it.
The police were considering blocking the road with a pile of snow last on Friday, past Langdon Beck, after we turned around about 2 dozen car trying to head over the top to Alston.
In this case, I think a bit of a trap for the unwary had been created as the council had plowed snowblowered the road up to Yadmos to allow us to access the trapped lorry driver but hadn't cleared all the way over into Cumbria. This incouraged people to carry on up the road further than was really sensible, as it was well cleared lower down.
One observation I would make is that most of the people we turned around where following a Satnav / phone and were looking for an alternative route because the A66 was closed. There does seem to be a certain attitude of blindly following the alternative route suggested by the clever talking box and not applying any thought to what it is suggesting. As anyone who has been up to Yadmoss would know that if the A66 is snowbound that Yadmoss is likely to be a poor alternative.
A few weeks ago, in another very cold spell, the wife and me discovered two ill equipped men walking down the wrynose pass road towards Little Langdale.
They were delivery drivers for a well known bed company who had made a delivery in Ambleside and then followed their sat nav towards their next delivery.
In doing so they'd ignored the iced up state of the road until encountering a particulary steep, icy section of road at wrynose bridge.
Unable to make upwards progress their van had slid backwards on the ice and wedged itself firmly across the road.
Upon phoning their parent company they were told to leave the van and walk to Ambleside where another van would pick them up.
We walked past the abandoned van a few minutes later, no note on the windshield to inform the next person to encounter the blocked road as to what had happened.
I still wonder how that situation panned out.
Whether you are snowed in or not probably depends somewhat on;
- What vehicle you have
- Whether you have winter tyres
- Whether you have snow chains
Therefore there is no sense in closing roads unless they are *actually* blocked. People just need to make sensible choices as you have. I've been driving round in my Defender all week in MK and only slid very slightly once (controllable), otherwise it's gripped fine without resorting to anything like snow chains etc.
As for impact on insurance, it would be wrong for the Police to say that as it is false, the Police should not be lying even if they would like it to be the case. Though there may be sense in insurance companies adding it in their T&C.
> I'm certain that lots of them would have been under pressure to make it into work.
That is a very good point. You could argue that a red warning (or even an amber one) should institute a mandatory bank and retail holiday along the lines of Christmas Day for those either living or working or both in the affected area.
4x4s are great in these kinds of conditions, but you really do need to know how to use them properly, in particular that while you gain a much better ability to accelerate, you don't gain a whole lot more braking (as every car has braking on all wheels), so you still have to drive imagining that your brakes are completely non-functional in those kinds of conditions, because by and large they effectively are.
True. I think I see just as many crashed or stuck 4x4s in the snow as any other type of vehicle. Which isn't to say that they're not vastly more capable in principle but that an idiot in a 4x4 is no better off than an idiot in a Golf. In fact, the idiot in the Golf is probably better off without a false sense of invulnerability.
(Though your point about braking doesn't take into account that 4x4s get the benefits of engine braking on all wheels.)
On further reflection, you and others make fair points. I suppose my experience has been mostly noting neighbours making non-necessary journeys (drive rather than 30 min walk for round trip), on an urban hill where any mistakes will likely mean they slide into other folks' vehicles, flats, or kids. And it's not like they don't know it -neighbours all complained about the hill being slippy in 2010 when THREE of them stopped their cars by clunking into others. I think part of the problem may be that our hill is VERY well-gritted, so expectations are very high.
Just this assumption of a RIGHT to personal private motorised transport whatever Nature is doing!! And it's not as if I am particularly anti-transport: I own 4 motorbikes and my wife owns a car. She mostly buses and walks though.
Will try to remember that most folk aren't idiots!
> Just this assumption of a RIGHT to personal private motorised transport whatever Nature is doing!!
People don't seem to understand that gritting isn't a magical panacea. Combined with the poor standard of driving that seems to be commonplace these days and a lack of understanding of how to drive in these difficult conditions, the results are predictable.
I had the great experience of being tailgated on the M1 when it dumped snow before Christmas. Who seriously thinks that tailgating someone is a sensible idea at the best of times, let alone when you don't have the option of braking!?
FWIW if I'd had a regular car it'd have stayed on the drive.
I did notice around MK a much higher standard of driving during the snow than previously, perhaps people are getting more used to it. Speeds were below 20mph (on what are normally 60/70mph roads) and plenty of distance was being kept.
> As for impact on insurance
Additionally, how do you prove a “road closed” sign was at the time visible. Extreme weather is not kind to portable road signs.
We have a folded-up and padlocked sign mounted on a road pole near our village but it’s never in my experience been opened. I’m itching to know what it says...
Sign not in use.
It doesnt matter if you are in a defender, in the kind of conditions weve had up here in the hills, it only needs a few cars to get stuck and you are all stuck. Then more extra resources are needed to get folks unstuck. Road closures arent taken lightly... Especially when it comes to major high level through routes.
I remember that in years gone by the road was ploughed and gritted as far as the cattle grid just past the firing range, but the weardale side was rarely ploughed as it was a different council.
In the late 80's the A66 was officially shut by the cops due snow. We were trying to cross the moor westbound in 2 army 4 tonners; bottom gear, 4 wheel drive, walking speed. The trucks were chained together so that the rear one could pull the leader out backwards when we bogged. A bloke in a Ford Sierra estate repeatedly tried to overtake us.
> In the late 80's the A66 was officially shut by the cops due snow. We were trying to cross the moor westbound in 2 army 4 tonners; bottom gear, 4 wheel drive, walking speed. The trucks were chained together so that the rear one could pull the leader out backwards when we bogged. A bloke in a Ford Sierra estate repeatedly tried to overtake us.
Was his name Ronnie Pickering?
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