Gareth from the Office: Driving home for Christmas

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The weather outside may be frightful but in all honesty the roads in Milton Keynes have been delightful, for the most part.

I for one hope that I don’t jinx things as I know firsthand the effect that the cold weather can have on drivers. But whereas we were struck last year by the cold snap, so far this year the council seems to have the answers.

Granted the snow hasn’t hit us as hard as it did towards the end of last and the start of this year but still with temperatures dropping as low as minus seven and below and the roads being potentially treacherous I have had limited problems on the road. But how, I hear you ask?

I know there will be people out there thinking the complete opposite. People whose journeys have been doubled in time or tripled in some cases may be reading this with disbelief. But I avoided a lot of it due to one thing - forward planning.

My journey to work from Newport Pagnell to Bletchley, with no snow or adverse conditions, is between 10 and 15 minutes, no breaking the speed limit, just steady on all roads.

If this means leaving my house at 8.20am rather than 8.40am then so be it. I would rather take my time, avoid the traffic and get to work safely than rush around and risk skidding, or sat in a queue of traffic looking to avoid the crazy ones.

And you know who you are. The ones who don’t plan, who set off later than usual or at the same time you usually do and end up pushing your car more than you are really comfortable with, and that’s when accidents happen.

My one and only crash, touch wood, happened on a country road, with black ice, driving at a breakneck speed of just 27 miles per hour.

I lost control, I skidded and I ended up across the road in a bush, with my car and my confidence written off. That was three years ago and still now I am cautious when it comes to driving in the snow and ice.

Another thing that has helped me on the way is the state of the roads. Last time it snowed in Milton Keynes there was talk of a complete lack of salt, leaving the city suffering post snow with more mush around than your average chick flick.

This year, even when it did snow, or reach sub zero temperatures the roads have remained relatively clear and we must, for a change, applaud the council for some positive work.

Yes you may fear the snow and ice on the roads and I don’t blame you. There is nothing you can do about the weather. But there is something the council can do, and let’s just thank them that they are actually doing it.

If by some cruel twist of fate the snow does arrive then be prepared. Take a bottle of water for the car, take essentials and for god’s sake put anti freeze in your car. The snow and ice is enough of a worry without your car packing up as well.

You need to be safe when you’re driving home for Christmas.