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December 22, 2010 02:00 ET

It's 'Snow Joke' Britain Is Closed for Business

CHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 22, 2010) -

Every time we have snow fall in this country there is panic and mass hysteria as practically the whole of the UK grinds to a halt.

Airports

Thousands of people are facing massive disruptions to their travel arrangements as they try to flee the country for the festive season. Both Gatwick and Heathrow airports have closed leaving many stranded at the check-in desks.

A number of consumers have complained at being poorly treated as they were forced to sleep on the airport floors. With their holiday plans in ruins, they have been forced to return home, hoping they can get a refund on their cancelled holiday.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he was aware of the "outrage" of passengers, but he added: "We have had very extreme conditions and aviation is a safety-first business and the conditions at Heathrow have made it difficult for aviation to operate."

Whilst some airports continue to operate they are facing a huge back log of flights as Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Birmingham, Luton, London City, Bristol and Southampton airports all said flights would be subject to delays and cancellations.

Worse still a number of holiday makers have been trapped abroad and are having to fork out hundreds of pounds in accommodation and food costs.

Roads & Railways

The Railways have also suffered massive disruption as shoppers and workers were left stranded at the railway stations. Services to and from London have been cancelled whilst the Eurostar services to Paris and Brussels are suffering long delays with speed restrictions on the line.

Driving conditions are being described as treacherous as a number of usually busy roads and motorways have either been closed or are facing long delays. Breakdown services have been working around the clock as they try to rescue stranded motorists. The AA has said it is experiencing a record number of calls and has advised people to stay at home.

"Over the weekend there have been a few fatalities as a result of the weather conditions. That underlines the fact that you should not underestimate just how treacherous and severe the weather conditions are," said a spokesman for the breakdown service.

With the number of claims rising having adequate car insurance cover is vital at this time of year. Comparison sites such as Moneysupermarket.com will help find the right policy for you.

If your car is struck down by the cold weather follow these five quick tips.

  • Pull over as far as you can
  • Turn on your parking and your hazard lights
  • Ask passengers to leave by left-hand doors only 
  • Move everyone as far away from the road as possible
  • Never try to cross the motorway, even to reach an emergency phone.

Pack yourself an emergency kit and store it in your car. Below are items that should be in included:

  • Ice scraper and de-icer 
  • Torch and spare batteries 
  • Warm clothes and a blanket
  • Boots
  • First aid kit
  • Jump leads
  • Food and a warm drink in a thermos
  • A shovel
  • Reflective warning sign
  • Sunglasses – snow glare can be dazzling

As stated before, you really should stay indoors, however if you really need to take to the roads, visit the Highways Agency website to check for any incidents or delays on your intended route.

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