Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chaos at Blue Bank

I spent an hour stuck on Blue Bank this afternoon, a well known hill into and out of Whitby. It was chaos and only an inch of snow. Just before the drop down I noticed several drivers stopping. I joined the queue. I was told "The roads blocked". Given that it had only started to snow a few minutes earlier and there was only an inch of snow I just had to get out of my car to investigate and took my shovel with me.

A look down the hill told me everything. Some drivers were carrying on like they were at Santa Pod, wheels spinning & smoke curling up from tyres, a 4X4 stuck in nearly an inch of the stuff. I asked her if it was in 4 wheel drive. "I wouldn't know, my husbands never told me where to stick it". The council worker who was helping me apread the piles of rock salt onto the road made the kind suggestion to her that he'd show her where to stick it. (Don't worry she declined that offer). Most of the drivers who got out of their cars simply wandered around looking like escaped sheep from a lunatic asylum. None did anything remotely constructive unless 'looking at the other drivers' could be included.

Others walked past me into the village at Sleights. "We've left our cars and we're walking home we've been told the roads blocked". Rubbish! I told them, " its an inch of snow and this rock salt will have it all melted. Go back to your car and wait".

Another lorry driver was causing more chaos by trying to turn around on the 1:6 hill and now no one could get up - or down.

Eventually the rock salt took effect and the traffic started to move. one driver attempted to drive on the snow rather than on the grit and rock salt. I suggested he drive on the clear bits which were now gritted and melted. "No way mate - I'm not ruining the body work". And promptly skidded into a car on the other side of the road.

Then I saw my bank manager who'd managed to skid into a ditch and was stuck. "Not my fault! I was coming down the hill and the blokes in front braked. The only way I could avoid them was to turn into this ditch" I told him in that case he was driving too close!!. I got my rope out of the car and my council friend got the lorry and we pulled him out of the ditch. "I want 5% for that" I told him. "You'll be lucky - we'll be charging you to keep your money soon", he replied, as he went his way.

As me and my council friend worked our way down the hill I noted only one other person out of their vehicle using a shovel. He turned out to be an old farmer I knew from years back and was about 85.

Three other drivers couldn't be bothered to wait any longer and over took my parked car. One of these pratts wound down his window and asked us why we couldn't work harder as he past me on his way down hill before skidding into the lorry slewed across the road around the bend. (Oh, yes I laughed!!!! - and he heard me!)

Then the gritter turned up. Of course it couldn't get by. So I helped the gritter tow the offending lorry out of the way. At which all the up hill drivers accelerated and wheels spinning proceeded to skid everywhere but up hill. I suggested to the first driver that he might like to use less speed and not skid his wheels. But he clearly didn't understand instructions and carried on wearing rubber off his tyres, as did several of the drivers behind. They got nowhere. I left.

Luckily my downhill side of the road had now melted enough snow so i carefully drove down the hill with most of the remaining cars following. As I reached the first of the islands in the road a car had managed to skid on to it and was now straddled over the now crushed sign telling us to keep left.

As I passed I gave him a nice cheery smile to keep his spirits up (he was one of three that couldn't wait earlier on) as he surveyed the damage. I stopped to speak to my council worker friend. "I'm not helping him - the boss has just told me to get back to work at the depot and collect more salt"

We went on our way promising to have a drink together later on at the Red Lion.

1 comment:

Alastair said...

Well David you'll be pleased to know that I too carry a shovel in the back and sport winter tyres on our (2 wheel drive) vehicles. Back in November (before the winter tyres were fitted) I got caught out on Lealholm Side by that early snow in my fairly recently purchased (2nd hand) Fiesta. I slid slowly and gently in to the ditch. One couple very kindly stopped up the hill and walked down to offer help and when I finally abandoned ship several folk offered me a lift home (in their 4 wheel drives). My neighbours hauled the Fiesta out the next day. So there are still a good number of thoughtful folk around.