I woke yesterday morning to the stunning sight of snow lying on the fields of the Lincolnshire Wolds. It had been barely more than a dusting when I had looked out of the window on the previous evening. The snow was thick on the road, too. The A16 snakes viciously past the village of Swaby, racing past the small row of houses where Em’s family live and on towards Louth. 4″ of snow is quite a sight:
But hang on a minute. The A16 is the main road between Boston and Grimsby. It is the sort of rural A-road that wannabe Colin McRaes careen around in lunatic fashion, dodging the articulated lorries that stream steadily from end to end. It is the sort of rural A-road that Lincolnshire County Council have quite sensibly designated as a “Red Route”. What is a Red Route? It’s a road where there is a higher than average chance that you might get to answer some of life’s more profound questions should you be behind the wheel of a car. Particularly if your latest X-Box 360° or iPhone fix is Need for Speed™ SHIFT.
You can read more about Red Routes here on a page of the Lincolnshire County Council’s website reassuringly subtitled “A survival guide to Lincolnshire’s roads”. Apparently, car users represent a far higher proportion of those casualties recorded as KSI (Killed and Seriously Injured) in Lincolnshire – a frightening 64%, compared to the national average of 46%. If you are interested, you can read more about it here.
So. Red Routes. Dangerous. Particularly at speed.
Here – for the benefit of Lincolnshire’s Tory County Councillors – are some elementary facts about snow and its effects. It is usually forecast by the Met Office. It makes roads slippery. Slippery roads are dangerous roads. Red Route roads are dangerous roads that get a whole lot more dangerous.
So why is it that the cretins at County Hall (Lincolnshire) have yet to chuck a single piece of grit on sections of the A16 marked out as accident hot spots?
After last year and “The Great Grit Crisis” of 2008, you might expect a County Council that is looking out for the welfare of local residents, and which has access to the BBC Weather like the rest of us, to be a little quicker off the mark with the gritters than never. However, it was only after frustrated police demanded a snow plough be sent out that the A16 became vaguely usable.
As I am writing, with temperatures well below freezing, I hear the occasional rumble of wary drivers trundling past on the snow-covered unlit A16. I have yet to hear the reassuring rattle of a gritter. The prospect of the complacent uselessness of Lincolnshire County Council writ large if Cameron’s Tories win power at Westminster is truly frightening.