Page last updated at 18:21 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Snow creates travel meltdown: Your stories

Snow and ice continues to cause travel chaos across the UK, a day after thousands of motorists were stranded by wintry conditions.

Here BBC News website readers share their experiences of how the snow has affected them.


Dianne Cranmer

I left home with my mother and my 17-month-old son around 1430 on Monday to do some Christmas shopping. I came out of the shops just after 1600 and joined the queue to exit the area but the traffic wasn't going anywhere.

By about 1800, we had moved just 30 car lengths. At the top of a hill there is a mini-roundabout and we saw four accidents. Handy Cross roundabout, a major roundabout in High Wycombe, was gridlocked so even when the accidents were cleared, the traffic was still not moving.

I rang my husband and he drove to collect us. But the 15-mile journey which normally takes 20 minutes by car took my husband between three and four hours.

Abandoned car

In the meantime, we saw John Lewis staff walking up and down informing drivers of what was happening ahead. I asked them for advice on what to do. My son was due for a feed and my mother and I needed the loo!

We decided to abandon our car and walk back towards the shops. The short journey was treacherous as the roads were icy and I am eight months pregnant.

The John Lewis store was still open until 2000. Staff members were serving hot drinks even after the shop officially closed, although they were not selling anything to customers. They unpacked brand new linen for my son and they kept children entertained with a TV for them to watch.

They were also good at keeping everyone updated by making regular announcements over a public address system. And every half an hour, they contacted the police for the latest travel information.

Staff even found a room for us at a local hotel. A John Lewis member of staff drove us to the hotel so that we didn't have to tackle the treacherous roads on foot.

Flat tyre

When we arrived the hotel lounge was in chaos. People were finding a spot to rest while the hotel reception desk was three people deep.

My husband later arrived at the hotel and we set out to go home around 0200. But on our journey home we got a flat tyre probably because of a piece of steel that wasn't cleared from an earlier accident.

We finally arrived home around 0300. Looking back we were so lucky to be able to go back to John Lewis for shelter. We think we got away quite lightly.


Neil Hawke and James Williams in their office
Neil Hawke and James Williams had to spend the night in their office

I spent the night in my office because I couldn't get home. The snow started coming down at 1500 and by 1600 many of my colleagues decided to leave. I had a couple of important calls to deal with and tried to leave at 1630. I got about half a mile before finding that the roads were blocked.

Our office is in Taplow and I had a 28 mile journey to Aylesbury over snowy and hilly roads. I listened to local radio and the traffic reports weren't encouraging so I decided to give up. Lots of my colleagues ended up abandoning their cars. One crashed his car, fortunately he wasn't seriously injured. Two of us decided to spend the night at the office.

Our office is a converted boathouse in Taplow. We have a couple of sofas in our meeting room and some plasma screens which we could watch films on. The husband of one of my colleagues eventually managed to pick her up and when he did he stopped off and got fish and chips for us all.

I did a bit of work and went to sleep at about 0200. I was up at 0800 this morning and haven't had any breakfast yet. I have just ordered a pizza but we will have to collect it as the company is refusing to deliver. Hopefully the roads will be better tonight.


Karen McAuley

It took me about five hours to travel five miles home. The roads were incredibly icy and the traffic just wasn't moving. I think part of the problem was that lots of people in Reading left work at 1500 and the roads became blocked much earlier.

Cars couldn't get up the hills and were skidding across roundabouts, all of this held up traffic. There was nothing to do but sit in the traffic and listen to local radio updates. Some people left their cars to build snowmen by the side of the road.

There was good sense of community spirit and a group of young people were helping out by directing traffic and helping push stuck cars out of the snow.


A340 at Tadley
Local residents gritted the road and pushed stuck cars

I live on the A340 which goes from Basingstoke to the A4. The residents of Main Road and Tadley Hill were out yesterday afternoon and evening helping the motorists in a fantastic display of community spirit.

The residents really came together. People were pushing stuck cars and gritting the roads with gravel found nearby. I went out to join them in the evening. People were controlling traffic around abandoned cars and even making cups of tea and handing out biscuits. One neighbour had been helping the drivers for more than six hours.

No gritters

We saw drivers who had been travelling for over six hours to cover the seven miles from Basingstoke to Tadley. They were also several pedestrians who had walked all of the way, and people with babies and small children making their way home late at night after hours of delays.

What an outstanding community effort! And where were the council staff? Not one gritter came by in all this time, despite calling them to inform them the traffic was getting worse in the early afternoon.

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